Hall of fame boxing trainer, Freddie Roach is once again with his most well known fighter, that being eight division world champion, Manny Pacquiao. The two have worked together for over ten years and have faced some of the greatest fighters of the last twenty years. Pacquiao is set to return this weekend against WBO welterweight champion, Jessie Vargas, in a attempt to once again hold a world title.
In part 1 on my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Freddie Roach, I talk to him about Pacquiao vs. Vargas, which is set to take place this Saturday night. Roach discusses the training camp, how Pacquiao is looking and what he thinks of Jessie Vargas. Freddie also speaks on the challenge he sees in front of them and what he thinks Jessie Vargas’ strengths are. Additionally, Roach speaks on Zou Shimming and if the next world title shot is his last. Here is what Freddie Roach had to say.
Jenna J: Manny Pacquiao has a big fight coming up for the WBO welterweight title against Jessie Vargas. How have the preparations been going?
Freddie Roach: I just got back from The Philippines, I spent a month over there. Manny is doing very well, he’s had a very good training camp even though he was in the senate and he had a lot of work going on. Some days we trained at four o’clock or seven o’clock, depending at what time he got out of the senate. He did change quite a bit, the job there is quite extensive and can run for long days, but we only had one day off the whole time I was there and he’s doing quite well.
Jenna J: Manny had a brief retirement after his last fight. Do you think he is now hungrier having let boxing go for a little bit and now coming back to it?
Freddie Roach: When he retired after the last fight, he told me that night that he may fight again. I was not surprised that he was going to fight again, he looked really good in his last fight and he was really good in training camp this time too. We got a couple more sparring days to go here and I’m sure he’s going to do well.
Jenna J: How do you compare Pacquiao at his age now as opposed to when he was twenty seven years old?
Freddie Roach: Well, he hasn’t really lost his speed at all. He’s really fast, he’s got great combinations and great footwork, that has not stopped yet. The day that it does stop is the day that I will tell him to quit. He’s not there yet, he’s still got at least a couple more fights in him for sure.
Jenna J: What do you think of Jessie Vargas as an opponent?
Freddie Roach: I know he’s won a couple of world titles and so forth, but I’ve never seen him fight on TV. I forget his name quite a bit, so I don’t think he’s that well known. I don’t think he’s in Pacquiao’s class and I’ve watched tape on him and I do think we’re going to get our first knockout at 147lbs.
Jenna J: What are you guys doing differently this time to get that knockout?
Freddie Roach: He’s being more explosive and being more aggressive than he has been in the past. I think he finally realizes that he can’t just tune up to win fights, he has to knock people out to be impressive and for people to want to watch him more. We had a great run back in the day and that’s what made him famous and made him a great fighter. I think he wants to be that guy again.
Jenna J: The last time I spoke to you, you mentioned that you hoped that if Manny had one really good fight, maybe he would entice Mayweather into a rematch. Do you still hold out hope for that?
Freddie Roach: Of course. My biggest disappointment is losing to him and my heart wants that rematch. We would love to fight him again.
Jenna J: Now that Manny is fully healthy, do you think that will be the deciding difference in the rematch?
Freddie Roach: I think it will definitely be a big difference. If he he fights the way that we trained to fight, I think he will beat Mayweather — even though I thought he beat him the first time. Mayweather is not the most exciting guy in the world but the thing is, if Manny fights the right style of fight, I feel that he can win that fight easily.
Jenna J: On November fifth Zou Shiming is fighting for a world title. Do you think this is his last chance to win a world title?
Freddie Roach: Yeah if he doesn’t win it here, it may be over. He’s been boxing for a long time, he’s a three time Olympian and he’s done everything you can as an amateur fighter and as a pro fighter his next goal is to win a world title. If that doesn’t come soon, it may be over for him. He’s been boxing as an amateur for a long time and his style is very hard to get out of his head.
Jenna J: Have you been able to accomplish what you set out to do him, in terms or changing him as a fighter or do you think there’s more work to be done?
Freddie Roach: No, he always reverts back to what he used to do. He did that for so many years, so I would need eleven more years to catch up with that. He’s got his amateur coach with him now, they trained here and he looked good in sparring but he still has that amateur style and that’s not going to change, it’s embedded in his brain.