Michael Rosenthal

Roach to work with U.S. amateur team

LAS VEGAS – The top professional boxing trainer in the United States will now lend his expertise to some top American amateurs.

Freddie Roach, who has trained many world pro champions, announced Saturday that he will work with select members of the U.S. boxing team leading into the 2012 Olympics in London.

The U.S., once an Olympic powerhouse, won a single bronze medal in the 2008 Games.

“I want to help the Olympic team,” Roach said Saturday, hours before he was to work the corner of Manny Pacquiao against Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand. “I want to get back in form, get some gold medals back in America.

“I think with the experience I have, I can help the team.”

Roach, who will be volunteering his time, plans to coach about a half dozen of the best American hopefuls at his famous Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif.

Joe Zanders remains the head coach of the U.S. team, which will hold its trials late this summer. The winners will then move on to an international qualifier in September.

“I think the atmosphere in the gym is unbelievable,” Roach said. “It’s a great place for people who want to work hard. I have Amir Khan in there, Manny Pacquiao, great role models.

“And all my fighters work hard. … If you give me the work, I’ll give it back to you.”

Roach believes that fewer athletes are going into boxing compared to past generations, which is one reason the U.S. has had little success in recent Olympics.

However, the team is not without talent. And Roach is known to mold talented fighters into successful fighters.

“I don’t make these kids,” he said. “They’re talented people, winning the Olympic trials already. I’ve had like 30 world (pro) champions. Did I make 30 champions? No. I worked with 30 champions.

“I think I can take someone who is already good, fine tune them and make them better.”

And Roach plans to make aggressive fighters.

He said another problem American amateurs have had is that they build leads and then fight defensively in an effort to maintain them. He hopes to change that approach.

“My thought process is that if you’re winning by 20 points, I want you to go up by 40. I don’t want them to protect leads,” he said.

Roach said he was asked by authorities in the Philippines to work with that country’s amateurs but decided he wanted to help out at home.

“I’m an American,” he said. “I want to see America do well.”

Professional trainers are not allowed to work corners in the Olympics.

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