Freddie bets it won’t go past 5

Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - November 11, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Six-time Trainer of the Year awardee Freddie Roach isn’t a betting man unless it’s a sure thing and in WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao’s title defense against unbeaten challenger Chris Algieri in Macau on Nov. 23, he’s ready to put money on the line that the scheduled 12-round bout won’t go over five.

What will propel Pacquiao to victory is his superior conditioning, he added. “Manny’s always in great shape,” said Roach. “When I arrived in General Santos over a month ago, Manny did 12 rounds of mitts and that was our first workout in the gym. He’s doing great in sparring. We brought in a lot of sparmates to keep him busy, to make him think. Conditioning will be key in this fight because we expect Algieri to be in excellent condition.”

Roach said Algieri didn’t deserve the decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in New York last June. Algieri won by a split verdict to wrest the WBO lightwelterweight crown from the Russian and earned the crack at Pacquiao’s title. Roach was in Provodnikov’s corner for that fight. “I thought Algieri faded a bit in the late rounds,” said Roach. “The way I saw it, he lost to Ruslan but the judges gave it to him.”

Roach said Pacquiao’s power will make the difference in stopping Algieri in his tracks. In the gym, Roach wears a heavily-padded body shield that Pacquiao pounds to work on his attack to the midsection. Roach said despite the shield, he still feels Pacquiao’s hammer-like blows. With the mitts, Roach said Pacquiao doesn’t hold back in throwing lethal combinations.

“Sure, I get hurt,” said Roach. “I put on the body shield and Manny pounds away. Of course, I get bruised. My hands are banged up after we do the mitts. But that’s okay. I want Manny working his combinations. When we’re done, Manny walks up to me and says sorry. He says sorry often.”

Roach said he’s not in the business of trading verbal barbs with Algieri in media but sometimes, his comments find their way in news reports. “Take that thing about Algieri getting knocked out cold,” said Roach. “Algieri claims he’s never been knocked out. But I’ve seen the video. It was in a kickboxing bout. And Algieri got knocked out not by a kick but by a punch. I can’t understand why he would deny it. I can show him the video.”

Roach said he’s convinced that any of Pacquiao’s three sparmates recruited to get him ready for Macau should be able to beat Algieri. They’re Stan Martyniouk, Viktor Postol and Mike Jones. Last Thursday, Pacquiao decked Martyniouk in a sparring session. Postol’s nose was bloodied in another sparring workout. And Jones said there’s no way Algieri can beat Pacquiao judging from the way he’s been battered in their sparring. Another sparmate Jose Ramirez was recently added to the rotation and the Mexican, who was in Davao City to outpoint Rey (Boom Boom) Bautista last year, is also no match for Pacquiao.

In an interview by David Greisman on BoxingScene.com, Roach said the only thing that’s impressive about Algieri is his jab. “That’s it,” said Roach. “He’s a bit of a runner. Manny doesn’t particularly like fighting guys who run so much. We’ll figure out a way to beat him. It’s not a problem.”

Roach said Algieri is a worthy challenger although he’ll be bowled over by Pacquiao. “He’s the best guy out there,” said Roach. “He’s part of the new generation. He’s a world champion. They’re calling him the Real Rocky and they’ve even gotten Sylvester Stallone to endorse him.”

As for Pacquiao fighting Floyd Mayweather, Roach said he doesn’t think it’s happening. “I don’t know if it’ll ever come off,” he said. “I hope it does because I know Manny can beat him. But from what I hear, Mayweather refuses to work with Top Rank and will only fight at the MGM because they pay him to fight there. Mayweather has a great deal with Showtime. Even if Showtime loses on his fights, he ends up making lots of money so I can’t see that changing.”

Roach said Pacquiao was the best thing that ever happened in his career. He’s worked with 34 world champions but Pacquiao is clearly the most outstanding of his fighters. “I remember I was training Wladimir Klitschko and teaching him how to fight rough guys like Mike Tyson,” said Roach. “Klitschko’s brother Vitali didn’t like what I was teaching so I was fired. Lucky that I was fired because if I continued to work with the Klitschkos, I don’t think I would’ve gotten the opportunity to work with Manny.”

Roach said conditioning coach Justin Fortune’s return to the Pacquiao camp was a positive. “I was Justin’s trainer when he was a fighter,” said Roach. “I was in his corner when he fought Lennox Lewis in Dublin. They paid more for my plane ticket than for training Justin. That was when I met Steve Collins who became one of the world champions I worked with. So things have a way of working out.”


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