Interview with Freddie Roach: What's up with Manny Pacquiao? Plus thoughts on Cotto, De La Hoya, Tyson and Tons More!
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 1, 2009)  
Once again visits the WildCard Gym in Hollywood, California. The assignment? What’s up with Manny Pacquiao? Let’s hear what boxing’s greatest trainer has to say about his star pupil. Why is Freddie Roach not in the International Boxing Hall of Fame?

David Tyler- Freddie, the Ninja is the biggest star in the sport today, maybe even bigger than Oscar or Tyson on a Global Level?

Freddie Roach –
At this stage of his career I would tend to agree with that statement. He was always popular in the Philippines and certainly the wins over De La Hoya and Hatton have propelled him into another level, and that level is the Pound for Pound Champion. That title alone has the prestige that the title “Heavyweight Champion of the World” used to carry.

DT – Fred, where is Manny training now?

FR –
He’s not in training. He is making his eighth action movie in the Philippines. He is enjoying life.

DT – What?

FR –
Well right now I’m having a lot of trouble getting in touch with him. His advisor, Michael Konz, is making all the decisions and he doesn’t want to consult me, he was quoted in the papers as saying that Freddie Roach is only the trainer we don’t need him. So I got a little ticked off about that comment.

DT – Fred, is he one of the two non-Filipinos that was telling everyone that the Hatton/ Pacquiao 24/7 was devoting too much time about you and not the Ninja?

FR –
I heard that he making those kinds of statements during the Hatton training camp.

DT – Freddie, is Michael Konz a lawyer?

FR –
No, he is not a lawyer, he is a secretary.

DT – What does he know about boxing?

FR –

DT – Fred, when someone reaches the very top level in the world of entertainment, there will be many vampires out there looking to suck the money out of them?

Of course, I have seen many fighters, like Mike Tyson lose everything because they place their trust in others who do nothing but kiss their butts all day long.

DT – I would think the Ninja would stick with you and have Filipino advisors?

FR –
You would think, wouldn’t you? Michael Konz came to my gym trying to get me to train Ike Ibeabuchi when he gets out of prison and Manny was training that day. I introduced him to Manny so somehow he hooked up with Manny as an advisor. He even told Bob Arum that we don’t need to run things past Freddie Roach, he is merely a trainer. Obviously, I was not pleased when Bob told me that news. Michael Konz is not showing me any respect with talk like that and I believe he is working off his own agenda and not the agenda of Team Pacquiao?

DT – When the Ninja starts training will it still be in the Philippines or another location?

FR –
I’m not pleased with him training in the Philippines, there are too many distractions, but that’s what he wants to my understanding, and I believe he is taking this fight too lightly. Mark my words this will be the toughest fight of his life. It’s the people around him like Michael Konz who are telling him this will be an easy fight and not to worry. Instead of names I will say his advisors are telling him that Miguel Cotto is done, he is finished, and that’s pure bullcrap. I have been watching countless hours again and again of Cotto’s past fights. He nullified Shane Mosley’s speed and that’s Manny’s greatest asset also, he has proven he knows how to deal with speed and everyone around Manny is taking the fight way too lightly. So yes, I’m a little pissed off at his advisors.

DT – Fred, I want to be clear about one issue, Manny is making a movie and not training?

FR –
At this point yes. I called Michael Konz and asked him if Manny has started conditioning his body for training camp and he said he didn’t know. I then asked Konz if Manny has told him where he will train in the Philippines and he said I haven’t asked him yet and I blew my top because Cotto has been in serious training for a month now. We haven’t even started yet and we have no idea where we are going? It’s absurd.

DT – Freddie, do you feel that these problems could have been avoided if he was at home here at WildCard?

FR –
Certainly, this is his home away from home. This is where we get ready for every fight but the immigration laws will not allow us to train here until three weeks before the fight. So if I have to go to the Philippines, I will do my job and get him ready for the fight but I prefer Mexico because it is close and I have had offers from several resorts in Mexico that would be much closer to home and away from the many distractions in the Philippines. In any case we will be ready for the fight and we do have those three weeks to prepare for the fight in this gym.

DT – Do you feel that you will be able to wrestle control of Manny from Team Konz when you get the Ninja in training camp?

FR –
Of course, 100% yes! Manny is smart and he will listen to me. This has happened before and we work things out. I just feel that I should have access to my fighter and I’m not getting that when we are thousands of miles apart.

DT – When will you see the Ninja again?

FR –
September the 8th because we start the press tours the 9th. We will be in Los Angeles on the 14th.

DT – I have many e-mails from Pacquiao fans and I would like to ask our readers to submit questions for Manny and you and I can sit down with him on the 14th.

FR – No problem.

DT – Thanks. Fred I am concerned with all the distractions that you have talked about during the interview. Will it affect the Ninja in the wrong way?

FR – Once I’m with him and put my foot down we will get down to serious business. I know how to get Manny ready for a fight and Manny has a lot of respect for me. It’s unfortunate that when I try to call Manny in the Philippines they won’t allow me to talk with him. I am the one that can talk some sense into him and that’s what he needs now.

DT – Why is it that every expert in the sport is taking the Ninja by kayo in less than five rounds?

FR – David, you know that I’ve been making a lot of predictions lately, and I will give you one for sure…..this fight will go the distance!

DT – Readers you have it correct, the Wizard of WildCard just predicted that the Pacquiao/ Cotto fight will go the distance.

Fred, that would be why?

FR –
Cotto is a bigger more resilient person, he is a true 147 pound fighter, he is very strong, he is a tough guy, and I will say this, sure he didn’t look good in the Margarito fight, but we all know that there were probably other influences in that fight. As for the Clottey fight, who looks good fighting Clottey? Cotto had a bad cut over his eye and took some big shots from Clottey, yet he did not go down and kept slugging away and won the decision. That shows me something, Cotto knows this is his biggest fight from a promotional sense he also knows that he can erase the memory of Margarito with a victory over Manny. He has already started training because he is taking this fight very, very, seriously more than any fight he has ever had. Cotto knows that the future of any fighter is only as good as his last fight. Having said all that don’t get me wrong, we will win this fight, I have studied the tapes and I know how Manny will win. Manny is the top P4P fighter in the world and I will not let him lose that title, it means too much to both of us. I will have him prepared with the great sparring partners that I’m bringing to camp…..

DT – Amir Khan?

FR –
Amir Khan yes and Shawn Porter who is a big puncher, he is 10-0 with nine knockouts. Also a couple of other big 147 pound fighters to prepare him for the strength that Cotto brings to a fight. Once I sit down with Manny and explain to him how this will be the toughest fight in his life, he will believe me and all the talk he is hearing from others will go away. Above all else, I have been very honest and truthful with Manny.

DT – Are you telling me that you disagree with the experts that Cotto is damaged goods because of the loss to Margarito and his performance against Clottey?

FR –
I think that his confidence was probably down a little after the Margarito fight, the fight before Clottey was just an opponent and I don’t think he trained that hard. I believe that the troubles he had with his trainer and family in his camp for Clottey may have affected his performance. Everything is OK now and he has been in camp a month early which tells me how seriously he is taking this fight. I believe he knows how important the Pacquiao fight is to his career. He is at a point that for him to move forward and put the past behind him, he MUST win this fight. You can capitalize "must" when you write this up. If anyone thinks this will be an easy fight then they are simply fools.

DT – So he will not come into this fight and electrify us like he did when he iced Ricky Hatton?

FR –
David, he has had three straight perfect fights, he is obviously at his peak right now. It’s very hard to stay at that level. Cotto certainly has his hands full but he has some advantages against us. By fight time he will be 20 pounds heavier than us. He will be the bigger, stronger fighter who is a very resilient guy. Of course he has started to cut lately and I’m hoping that will be a factor for us. Manny’s speed will bust him up a little bit, I hope. I just believe that Cotto is taking this fight more serious than any fight he has had. He knows the importance of looking good in the fight and he will not go down easy like some of Manny’s previous opponents. He will be at the top of his physical and mental game. Hell, he would love to walk around and people tell him you’re the guy that beat Manny Pacquiao when he was the best in the world. All memories of Margarito will be forgotten.

DT – Do you have a phone number for his trainer?

FR –
Sure, I will call you with his number this evening.

DT – I have noticed hundreds of Pinoys in the parking lot that have traveled many miles to get a peek at the ninja. What happen to the good ole days when it was an open camp?

FR –
David, here’s the way it is, when I would open the gym to the public and everything was going great, there were no problems. After the Morales loss, everyone said it was my fault for having an open gym and I started thinking that maybe I made a mistake and you must learn from your mistakes. I had thought that by allowing his fans in the gym that he would perform extra hard to impress them all, it wasn’t that way, he would get playful while sparring and show off for the audience. The closed sessions are best for his career.

DT – If I don’t go to the PI with you can I still ask you questions by e-mail?

FR –
Certainly. I would also like to say on behalf of my Mother and Brothers that we appreciate all the calls, e-mails, and letters of condolence over the loss of my Brother Joey. This means a lot to my Mother and I appreciate the sympathy and prayers from all my friends.

DT – You got it. I will see you again when the press tour stops in Los Angeles. Can we then sit down with Manny and go over the readers questions?

FR –
No Problem, anything, anytime. You’re always welcome.

DT – Thanks for those kind words.

Readers – You just heard from boxing’s greatest trainer that the P4P champ will answer your questions. E-Mail them to me at and I will ask Manny Pacquiao personally your questions.

Salamat sa inyong pag-tangkilik. Patnubayan Kayo ng poong maykapal.

El amor de Dios puede estar con usted.

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