Is Roach “Ol’ Lonely”?
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Sept 13, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
Freddie Roach & Julio Cesar Chavez Jr
As you see Freddie Roach on the most recent episode of “24/7” awaiting the arrival of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who faces Sergio Martinez on Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, you might be reminded (if you're old enough) of the iconic Maytag commercials. Their washers were said to be so sturdy and reliable that their repairman and his services were hardly needed. With Chavez basically training (or not) at his whim, you get the sense that Roach has become “Ol’ Lonely” as he sits around the Top Rank Gym for hours at a time with nothing to do.
Guess what? He doesn't necessarily disagree with this comparison.
“Very, very true, that's a very good analogy,” he said on Tuesday night, laughing loudly at the mere thought. “Sometimes it's a little frustrating but as long we get the call and we go to work, then I'm satisfied.”
On this particular night in front of the HBO cameras, a peeved Roach is informed by a member of Chavez's crew that the son of “JC Superstar” would be taking the day off (which is fine. Of course, it would've been a little bit more considerate if Team Chavez would've called the respected trainer a tad earlier). But seriously, how much of this is staged and how much is actually reality? As we know by now, sometimes there is no “reality” in reality TV and “24/7,” for all its bells and whistles, is essentially an infomercial designed to create storylines and interest in the pay-per-view event.
“The thing is it's good TV and stuff like that. But the thing is I do wait for him like I do for some other fighters also. And if he gives me a call and tells me he wants to work out at the house, I just drive out to the house and we do the mitts out there. I'd rather be in the gym and work in a boxing ring but he's a little bit odd. But he's getting the work in though and he is training very hard,” explained Roach. The bottom line is fighters like Chavez play by a different set of rules. A-list actors get their own plush trailers and sometimes shooting is delayed until they are nice and ready. In sports, while the back-up better show up for every practice five minutes early, the all-star will be given much more leeway in that regard, even getting a few days off. Working for Manny Pacquiao- who's well known for changing his mind or delaying decisions - has prepared him for this.
Like Frank Sinatra, these guys will do it their way.
“Definitely; they're world champions and I'll give them the courtesy of waiting for them and they need their rest and I'll kiss their ass a little bit,” admitted Roach, who said that before he came out to Vegas a few weeks ago, that one missed session would cause him to go back to Los Angeles. But he's a realist; when you train fighters who have become bona fide franchises, you bend the rules. “If he was just an ordinary fighter, I probably wouldn't do it.”
Yeah, and the pay ain't bad either. A large part of what you get for this gig is putting up with this stuff.
What rankles many observers and fans is that Chavez is already thought of as a product of his father’s legendary career and Top Rank's promotional machinery. He proved long ago that he's much more than just a novelty act; that much is true. However, many see him renting a multimillion-dollar mansion during training camp - which doesn't exactly conjure up memories of “The Jail” Marvin Hagler would subject himself to at deserted vacation resorts - and it just reinforces the perception that Chavez Jr. is a child of privilege in a sport made up of hard men from hard backgrounds. But when you're the scion of a Mexican legend, you're not going to be like every other prizefighter.
There was a time when a bout against “Maravilla,” the true middleweight king, was thought of as a gross mismatch. Now the oddsmakers have Chavez as just a two-to-one 'dog. The genesis of this bout ever becoming a reality began in earnest as Chavez won the WBC title - which was vacated by Martinez - last June against Sebastian Zbik. From there, he has defeated Peter Manfredo Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio and, most recently, Andy Lee. The Top Rank brain trust, Roach and the father had seen enough at that point to pull the trigger on this fight.
Roach told Maxboxing, “I think we're ready for Martinez. I think [Chavez]’s matured quite a bit; he's learned a lot in all his fights and from the [John] Duddy fight on. He's been getting better and better. In his last fight with a southpaw (Lee) - he doesn't like to fight southpaws that much - he did very well in that fight. We definitely think he's ready for the fight and it's definitely not an easy fight but we're definitely 100 percent ready and I think we can break this guy down and get him outta there in the late rounds.
In some ways, this match-up reminds Roach of Pacquiao's first bout against Marco Antonio Barrera back in 2003, when the “Pac-Man” came in as the betting underdog. Roach believed that if Pacquiao could force a quick pace, they would win that fight - which is precisely what happened. Pacquiao scored a surprising 11th round stoppage that night in the Alamodome in San Antonio. Roach believes Junior must pressure Martinez early and often. “We definitely have to get this guy out of his comfort zone and he has the best asset in the world with his speed. It's going to be tough to deal with but if we break him down, slow him down, take his legs away, we'll be successful,” he says.
Regardless of what takes place this weekend, win, lose or draw, Roach says there will be no excuses or alibis.
“After the workout last night (Tuesday), [Chavez] was six pounds over and we'll make weight, it looks like, relatively easier than we have in the past and he's definitely ready to prevail in this fight.”
So what was the plan for Wednesday night? Would Roach have to make a house call?
“We're waiting or the call right now,” said Roach, chuckling. “He's going to call me at 8 o'clock and I told him we're going to the gym tonight because we need the ring to put the final touches on the routine. The living room just doesn't cut it sometimes.”

So is TMT over before it even started? Somewhere out there, Josephine Abercrombie saw this coming a mile away...Brian Kenny and Paulie Malignaggi have been added to the Showtime broadcast at the MGM Grand this weekend...
For you young'uns, here's a Maytag commercial from the past: (Click play on Video)...It looks like a deal for Pacquiao to face Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8th at the MGM Grand has been reached (finally)...In other news related to sequels, no word on when the next “Police Academy” will begin production...By the way, folks, if some of this news is a tad old, it's because I typed this out on Wednesday before I hit Vegas on Thursday afternoon...So will Notre Dame ever join a conference in football or is this as close as it'll ever get?...
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