Freddie Roach on Pacquiao vs. De La Hoya: "I'm confident but I know it's not going to be easy"
The Welter Report By Gabriel Montoya (Nov 7, 2008) (Photo © Laura De La Torre)  
Yesterday morning, I stopped by the Wild Card and had a chance to talk with trainer Freddie Roach and find out how he feels Manny Pacquiao's training camp is going. As usual, Freddie was candid as he spoke about Pacquiao, his new pupil Amir Khan, and the addition of Angelo Dundee to Oscar De La Hoya's camp.

Gabriel Montoya: It's a month out from the fight. How do you think things are going?

Freddie Roach: Very good. We boxed seven rounds yesterday. Sparring's really good. I think we got some good sparring partners. Rashad Holloway is doing very well. He fights like Oscar quite a bit. Marvin Cordova. Quick hands. Real good jab. And the big surprise is Amir Khan. I've been using him for speed. He throws a much faster jab than Oscar does. Manny can deal with that. He helps us a lot. Over all, everything's going great.

GM: Some of the fans have been critical of Khan picking Manny. Basically stating that the guy got knocked out in his last fight, his lack of experience at the higher levels, etc, so what the hell does he know? Do you think that loss has any relevance at all in his assessment?

(Smiles) He trains with Pacquiao, they run together, they're friendly. Of course he's going to pick Manny. But you know, David Diaz who just got knocked out by Pacquiao is picking Oscar. So you know... (laughs). It doesn't matter. I don't think they're really picking with their minds but more with their heart. They're friends with each other and they're working together, you know? You always want your team mates to win.

GM: What's been the biggest adjustment for Manny fighting these bigger guys?

Well, obviously we have to get past the jab. We know that. It’s not a secret. People say that I shouldn't be telling my strategy but who doesn't know that. I mean, c'mon. Oscar is going to be using the jab. That's going to be the key to him dictating the pace of the fight is to use his jab effectively. We got to take the jab away from him and that's what we been working on. So far it's working well.

GM: Are you focusing more on the knockout... there's a lot of talk of Pacquiao knocking him out. Or are you just focusing on winning each round?

Yeah. (Laughs) If the knockout comes it'll be a bonus. That'll be gravy. But you know, Pacquiao doesn't train to knock people out. He trains to fight twelve hard rounds. And that's what we're going to do. Push the issue. Make Oscar fight three minutes of every round. I think we will get him somewhere along the way because he does tire. But you know, obviously Oscar is a great fighter. I'm confident but I know it's not going to be easy.

GM: What are your thoughts on the addition of Angelo Dundee?

You know, I think he's a great addition for Oscar because he has experience. And what's better than the knowledge of experience? He's seen everything. He's a great guy. But I put myself in Nacho [Beristain's] shoes. If I am supposed to be one of the greatest trainers of all time like he is. Nacho has great credentials, of course. It's hard to have two bosses, man. Who's Oscar going to listen to? Nacho or Angelo? Can they work together? I've done it before because I am an accepting guy like that but it's kind of a slap in the face to Nacho, I feel. Is Oscar not happy with what Nacho's doing? Is that why he brought him in? We don't know that. But overall, I love Angelo, he's a great guy. He's a friend of mine. I think he's a very knowledgeable guy. But I think it might cause some controversy in camp. And if it does (smiles) I'm happy.

GM: You think it might cause some controversy in the ring?

Well, who's going to speak? We haven't been told what the role of each person is? Who's the lead guy? Is he an assistant or is he just a fresh eye? Which could be used effectively if Nacho is acceptable of his opinion. But everyone has their own agenda. One person might want him to fight one way. One person might want him to fight that way. Can they agree? We'll see.

GM: Do you think all the trainers Oscar has had has been helpful or hurtful?

It can be helpful. You pick up a little here and there. You don't take everything. He's worked with knowledgeable guys like Manny Steward.

GM: Jesus Rivera. Alcazar.

Gil Clancy. Another great guy. Another knowledgeable guy. Thing is, to have a new trainer every fight, it's really hard to get used to a new person. Period. I've experienced it. Even on my end. It can be even harder than for the fighter. So, I'm happy. I think it's good for us. It's not going to win us the fight but every little bit helps.

GM: How's Amir (Khan) doing?

Amir's really, really doing well. I put him in with Pacquiao. He does really well. He gets the best of Manny in the early rounds. Manny gets the best of him in the later rounds. They work really hard together. They're competitive. Manny doesn't play with him. He has to stay focused because Amir has great speed. The key for Amir, though, is I wanted to put him in with Pacquiao to get his confidence back. He seems to be very good.

GM: There doesn't seem to be any lingering effects from the KO loss?

He boxed with Kevin Morgan's kid, Arron Robinson yesterday and last punch of sparring he about put Arron on his ass. You know Arron. He obviously tries really hard. It's a good show.

Gabriel at: .

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