In boxing you are only as good as your last fight, but Hall of Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach is looking to show something different when he returns to the corner for Zou Shiming's second professional fight. When Shiming made his highly anticipated debut, he showed flaws in his defense and while he entertained the crowd, he left the ring giving fans more questions then answers.
In part 1 of my 2 part interview with Freddie Roach I discuss his progress with Zou Shiming and get his views on what fans can expect when Shiming return to the ring. I also got Freddie's thoughts on Manny Pacquiao's future, and how he expects Manny to comeback from his devastating KO loss to Marquez. Here is what Freddie had to say.
Jenna J: I am proud to welcome back Hall of Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach. How’s everything going today Freddie?
Freddie Roach: Good, we had a media day with Shiming, it’s very well.
Jenna: Alright well you just brought him up there, Zou Shiming, he’ll be fighting again on July 27th against Jesse Ortega. What are you looking forward to in the fight?
Roach: Well you know we’re looking for improvements in his pro style, he’s been fighting in the amateur style for so long, we’re trying to get him to sit down on his punches a lot more and use his power and his strength. He’s been doing very well in the gym, we just need it to carry over into the fight. We won’t know until we get there but I think he’s progressed quite a bit.
Jenna: You mentioned he’s improved quite a bit, what do you think he’s improved most in the last 3 months since his last fight?
Roach: Well the biggest issue was his footwork, sometimes he ends up on his heels and his balance is bad, from that stance he can’t really punch with power. So the footwork was the key and we got his feet under him, transferring the weight with the left hook and the right hand, transferring it correctly. He’s punching much, much crisper, throwing much harder punches. I told him “You know in the American market we like knock outs and we don’t just wanna slip by on points, this is not the amateurs,” he’s absorbed that and he’s doing very well.
Jenna: Alright Freddie, you as a trainer, do you feel any extra pressure knowing that he’s 32 years old to try to get as good as you can get him as quickly as you can?
Roach: Well you know that is a tall order, I’ve had two Olympians before, Virgil Hill and Brian Viloria where it took 4 years to get them to world title fights. I don’t have that convenience with Shiming cause he’s a little bit older but him being in 3 Olympics and so forth, I think we can push him a little faster. We’re fighting 6 rounds in our second pro fight and then if everything goes well he’ll go 8 rounds in the Pacquiao show in November. So we are pushing him along a little faster than normal but he’s doing quite well and I think he’s really gonna look better in this fight and he’s just gonna get better and better as we go.
Jenna: Alright, now this is gonna be your second fight in Macau, China. How is it fighting over in that country and how’s the reception from the fight fans there?
Roach: You know, the stadium was packed, it was a great audience. A lot of Filipinos came over cause there’s a couple of Filipinos on the show also. It was a great show and then with the TV audience was 300 million, the biggest TV audience ever for a boxing match. It just shows the popularity it has in China. They love sports, it’s a great place to go. You know, I don’t really consider myself going to China so much when you go to Macau, cause Macau is more like a Las Vegas and so forth, but this time we’re going on the press tour with Manny Pacquiao after the fight and we will be in 3 cities in China. We will see the Great Wall of China which I’m looking forward to, then we’ll go to the country of Singapore and from Singapore we’ll go to New York then to LA. From there we’ll start training for the fight with Pacquiao in the Philippines.
Jenna: Alright well you mentioned Pacquiao and the fight he has coming up. Freddie, do you have any fear as his trainer that he’s gonna have such a long period of inactivity before the Rios fight that could effect him going into the ring?
I think the long period of inactivity is my fault, I chose that because after getting knocked out like that, we’ve seen all the damage that concussions does to athletes in football, hockey, any sport, boxing’s the same, and really let the fighter rest, I think it’s the best thing in the world for him to rest. He wanted to fight in April and I said “No, it’s too soon, lets wait a little more then we’ll go into training camp.”
Jenna: I know it's early, but has Pacquiao started training for his next fight?
Roach: He’s running already, getting in shape, getting ready for me. I think rest is the best thing he can do. It’s like Bradley who is in a similar boat with Manny, he fought my guy Ruslan and I think he’s coming back too soon. I know boxing, I know the sport very well and I know how to take care of my fighters and I think this is the best way.
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