Max Boxing’s Managing Editor, Gary Randall recently had the chance to talk to one of the best boxing trainers in the world, Freddie Roach. Last year, Roach was given a special award naming him the “No. 1 Pound for Pound Best Trainer in the World”, a title he won over trainer, Floyd Mayweather Sr. The current trainer of seven-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, talked to us about everything from Manny’s training to James Toney heading to the MMA.
Crave Online: What about Manny would you improve if it were just one thing?
Freddie Roach: Getting out of the way of the right hand. We’re still working on that.
Crave Online: What fighter in history would you compare Manny to?
Freddie Roach: Roberto Duran. Manny has the same aggressiveness, Tenacity and will to win. Duran was also a 135lb’er .
Crave Online: What fighter in history would you like to see Manny fight?
Freddie Roach: He would beat Duran, because Duran had trouble with Speed. I’d like to see Manny fight Henry Armstrong. That would be a true all around test.
Crave Online: If Eddie Futch (your mentor) were still alive and training Manny what do you think might be different?
Freddie Roach: Same deal, everything would be the same, I’m just trying to be Eddie’s clone.
Crave Online: Marvin Hagler once said "if you open my head all you’ll find is a boxing glove" How do you relate to that?
Freddie Roach: I think we’d find a brain, Marvin is a smart guy, I think we’d find more then just a glove.
Crave Online: I know you’ve talked about Manny only having a few more fights, but let’s say he just keeps winning and looking phenomenal. Since Manny’s still young enough, how many more fights or years do think he could go?
Freddie Roach: With the work ethic and the way he takes care of himself, he can go five more years if he wanted to. But I’d like to see him finish after knocking Mayweather out.
Crave Online: When do you think Manny had his turning point to be the complete fighter he’s known for today?
Freddie Roach: (quickly answering) His last fight with Marquez. That was a key fight. He knew he had to improve after that to take on better fighters. He came in the gym and that’s exactly what he started doing.
Crave Online: Does training Manny help your Parkinson’s disease?
Freddie Roach: 100% yes.
Crave Online: I’ve heard gym stories that you’re not a guy to mess around with. What do you do stay in such good shape while having Parkinson’s disease?
Freddie Roach: Hand and eye coordination mitt drills, it’s the best thing in the world for me and keeps me on my toes.
Crave Online: Who is your favorite fighter of all time other then Manny?
Freddie Roach: Joe Louis hands down – his technique, he’s a textbook fighter. If you want to learn boxing by the book he’s the guy to watch. A complete well schooled fighter. Not just natural ability but well schooled.
Crave Online: What’s your prediction of Mosley vs Mayweather?
Freddie Roach: I think Mayweather is going to win a 12 round decision. Shane has trouble with speed. But I hope Shane wins.
Crave Online: Who did he get the most fun out of training- who had the most physical talent of any fighter.
Freddie Roach: Physical Talent is James Toney. If he just had discipline he would’ve been the greatest fighter of all time. But he doesn’t.
Crave Online: What do you do for fun?
Freddie Roach: I don’t have time for anything else for fun really. On Sunday’s I go to the movies, that’s the only thing I do, and I can’t cook so I eat at a lot of restaurants and that’s fun cause I’m always trying new places. I don’t really do anything else.
Crave Online: What is your favorite sport other than boxing?
Freddie Roach: It would be Baseball. It’s not really exciting but it’s laid back. I have a friend in San Francisco and he gives me tickets to Giants games and I have a good time. I like Baseball.
Crave Online: What do you think of MMA?
Freddie Roach: I had two guys fight last night. They had 5 MMA fights and 5 boxing matches each, so I’m around the fighters a lot. I like the standing part of it better. Two guys on the ground doesn’t appeal to me but I understand there’s a science to it. I’ve had a few fighters: Andre Arlovski, BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, Tito Ortiz and I work with those guys occasionally. They all have talent.
Crave Online: What do you think of James Toney in MMA (he just signed with UFC)?
Freddie Roach: I think they’re using James as a way to say MMA fighters are better than boxers. If he fights a quality ground guy, once he goes to the ground he’s gonna get killed. But If a guy chooses to stand up with James, James is gonna destroy him. That’s why they call him “Lights Out”. I really don’t think there’s one fighter in MMA that could stand with James.
Pacquiao vs. Clottey takes place Saturday, March 13 live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9pm ET/7pm PT