Angel Hernandez, the new strength and conditioning coach of RING and WBO/WBA lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez, and who is widely known to have a past history of being involved in performance enhancing activities, defended himself on Saturday night’s third episode of HBO’s 24/7 series.
Marquez (53-5-1, 39 knockouts) hired Hernandez in preparation for his third bout with Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“I have never intended…I don’t think that if I was a person who had something to hide, I would not be coming out on television,” said the 36-year-old Hernandez, a graduate of Texas A&M’s exercise science program who believes that his state of the art techniques are better suited for helping Marquez to gain weight.
“I’ve never been banned from coaching. I have the curriculum. I have the science degrees. What we’re doing is strictly science.”
Marquez also addressed any suspicion of subterfuge on the HBO segment.
“I’m training like I should be,” said Marquez. “If they’re saying that I’m using things that I shouldn’t be, then I’m ready to take a test any time that they want.”
Identified as Angel Hernandez during Episode 2 of HBO’s 24/7 series, Hernandez went by his real name, Angel Heredia in May of 2008, when he testified in a San Francisco Court that he supplied former track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery with illegal substances.
Heredia admitted to giving the blood-booster EPO, growth hormone and insulin to Jones in 2000 at the request of her then-coach Trevor Graham, who was on trial. Heredia also sold banned substances to Montgomery.
Having competed for Jamaica at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Graham sparked the investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) in 2003.
Controversial BALCO founder Victor Conte tweeted his knowledge of Hernandez’s past on Monday, along with the fact that he had changed his name.
Hernandez offered his explaination of the name change from Heredia on 24/7.
“My name is this. My name is very long. My first name is Angel. I have a middle name, which is Guillermo. But in Mexico, they use ‘Memo,’ which is my nickname. Heredia, for some people, it’s very difficult for them to catch up,” said Hernandez.
“You can ask anybody here in the media sometimes they call me Heredia. Dr. Heredia. For some reason, I told you guys Hernandez, and it was easier for you guys to write it down.”
Following the example of Conte, who has re-established some credibility by working with fighters such as Nonito Donaire and Andre Berton, Hernandez is similarly attempting to gain traction in the sport by helping Marquez, a winner of three straight fights since dipping his toe into the welterweight division for a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) in September of 2009.
Marquez and his trainer, Nacho Beristain, blamed rapid weight-gain for slowing down the fighter during his performance against Mayweather, and they believe that Hernandez’s methods will make a difference against Pacquiao.
“Juan is not using. We’re not doing anything illegal. He’s training clean and he’s fighting clean. Mr. Marquez is a person who I think that his career speaks for itself for 26 years. I’ve only been working with him for about eight or nine weeks. What he’s already done and what he’s already achieved has nothing to do with me,” said Hernandez.
“I’m just here to develop a different program that he has never worked on. We don’t have any problems with testing. We can do urine tests before the fight, blood tests before the fight. We can do excrement tests before the fight and after the fight. We have notihing to hide.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org