Lem Satterfield

Angry Marquez answers criticism of his strength coach


RING lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez reacted angrily during Wednesday’s national conference call to questions concerning his controversial strength and conditioning coach, Angel Hernandez.

Hernandez was known as Angel Heredia when he acknowledged having given the blood-booster EPO, growth hormone and insulin to track star Marion Jones in 2000 at the request of her then-coach Trevor Graham, as well as selling banned substances to sprinter Tim Montgomery. 

Having competed for Jamaica at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Graham sparked the investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) in 2003.

Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) said that he was unaware of Hernandez’s past when he hired the 36-year-old to assist longtime trainer Nacho Beristain for his Nov. 12 clash with Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs), a move that has drawn angry reposnses from Floyd Mayweather Jr’s advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, as well as scrutiny and criticism from former BALCO founder Victor Conte, who has a history with Hernandez.

Conte, who has served time in prison and claimed to have cleaned up his act, has become aligned with fighters such as WBO/WBC bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire and IBF welterweight beltholder Andre Berto, and is pushing for a comprehensive, random method of drug testing boxers. 

Below are some of the responses of Marquez and Beristain during the conference call:

Juan Manuel Marquez:

On whether or not Conte’s comments about Hernandez have created a distraction:

“It has not. You know, Conte can speak to whatever he wants. It’s his opinion, it’s not a fact. I think the lawyers will have their hands on that case. As for me, I’m just preparing myself to get ready for a fight. If he can’t present some facts, then maybe we’ll have attorneys take care of that.”

On how he met Hernandez, what he knew about his past, and whether the revelations about him will change anything, moving forward:

“I just knew that he had trained a lot of elite and world class athletes before I met him. We talked about what we needed to do. I was very happy with what he told me that I needed to do. I think that he’s been a very professional guy.

“We’ve gotten along very well together. I think that the things that have been said about him by Conte and [Manny Pacquiao’s strength coach Alex] Ariza, I think that those are legal issues that [Hernandez] is going to have to deal with. I’m just preparing myself to fight.”

On why he was not aware of Hernandez’s past:

“I just know that when I met him, and what we talked about in regard to his background was with athletes, and when we talked about what we needed to do, I was fine with him.

“I didn’t find out any of this other stuff until it was written over the last couple of days. It was big news to me. But, you know, it’s a shame.

“All of the work that I’ve done, and how hard that I’ve worked and all of the preparation, right now, that’s being just thrown into the trash can by guys like Conte and Ariza who are saying these things.

“I’ve worked very hard and I’m not going to stop training and getting ready for the fight. If they want to do whatever doping or drug testing that they want to do, Olympic-style, or whatever they want to do. I’ll do it. I’m prepared. Just as long as [Pacquiao] does it too.”

On whether or not he would consider legal action for the comments made by Ariza and Conte:

“I’m just saying that if these guys are going to be talking, that’s there opinion, or is it a fact? I think that they shouldn’t be saying stuff like that. They have to show proof.

“I’m sure that [Hernandez] is going to be talking to his lawyers and trying to find out why are they saying these things about him when they have no facts or no evidence to say these things.”

Nacho Beristain:

On how he met Hernandez, what he knew about his past, and whether the revelations about him will change anything, moving forward:

“I have the utmost respect for the work that he’s done for us. Every time that Juan Manuel comes to the gym, he has the power, the energy and he’s giving me a guy that I know that I can work with who is going to be ready.

“That’s what makes me feel that we’re going to have a good chance of winning this fight. I think that I just have the utmost respect for what he’s done, and how Juan Manuel has responded to his work.”


Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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