Lem Satterfield

Q&A: Roach discusses Pacquiao, Khan, Chavez Jr., drug testing

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Five-time trainer of the Year Freddie Roach spoke to RingTV.com in this Q&A regarding his star fighters Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Former WBA/IBF 140-pound beltholder Khan (26-2, 18 knockouts) will be the first of the trio to return to the ring, doing so on May 19 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas in a rematch with Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), who dethroned him by split-decision in December.

Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) will then defend his WBO welterweight crown against WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Chavez (45-0-1, 31 KOs) successfullly defended his WBC middleweight belt by unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Rubio on Feb. 4, and may not be back in action until September, according to his manager, Billy Keane.

Keane said fight considerations for Chavez include James Kirkland, Vanes Martirosyan, ex-beltholder Ricardo Mayorga and Andy Lee, although Roach would like to see Chavez in an all-Mexican clash opposite unbeaten WBC junior middleweight beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez or RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.

Prior to the fight with Rubio, Chavez Jr. was arrested in January for allegedly driving drunk, an offense for which he was granted a 30-day continuance following a court hearing earlier this month. He now faces three misdemeanor charges — two for drunk driving and one for driving without a valid license, according to Keane, and if found guilty could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Roach also spoke about recent developments with Pacquiao, including the fighter’s claim that he is being encouraged by God to retire, his vow to eliminate his gambling and womanizing vices, and an ongoing investigation related to tax issues.

In addtition, Roach discussed the fact that Khan, Pacquiao and Chavez, who share strength and conditioning guru, Alex Ariza, are often targeted by innuendo regarding performance enhancing drugs. Khan and Peterson have agreed and signed to be randomly drug tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) for blood and urine in advance of their return bout.

Peterson and Khan are joining others such as Alvarez and challenger Shane Mosley, who will be drug-tested by VADA for their HBO Pay Per View-televised clash on May 5 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. The VADA organization’s president and founder is Dr. Margaret Goodman, a former ringside physician and Medical Advisory Board Chairman for the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

“VADA was approached by Golden Boy Promotions to do the testing for Peterson-Khan and Mosley-Alvarez,” said Goodman. “It is a fighter-driven program, so fighters have to volunteer to us.”

Below is the interview with Roach.

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RingTV.com: Have you had an opportunity to speak with Manny regarding his out-of-the ring issues and his life changes?

Feddie Roach: I just think that his political people are saying that there are problems, but that’s just how politics are. I don’t think that there is a tax problem.

I’ve talked to Manny. There won’t be any distractions. He said that he’s going to stay out of the bars and the clubs. He’s going to stay away from the gambling.

Everything that he says that he’s going to do will make it easier for me. The part where he said God and boxing might not go together, he told me that he knows that God understands that it’s a sport.

RingTV.com: What does Amir Khan have to do differently to have a different outcome against Lamont Peterson?

FR: The thing is that he did lay on the ropes at times in a passive position. He was letting Lamont go with some hard shots to the body.

So I would pretty much tell him not to lay on the ropes so much and to box more in the middle of the ring.

RingTV.com: Any concerns about Amir making the weight, given that he was looking to move up to welterweight had he beaten Peterson?

FR: He actually felt that he didn’t put enough weight back on for the fight. He put a lot of water weight back on. He only put on seven pounds.

For this fight, he’s going to go with the more traditional way of making weight by drying out like fighters do. We want him to put on more weight after the weigh-in and so he’ll be a lot stronger and be as big as Peterson was.

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RingTV.com: Can you discuss the drug testing agreement for Peterson-Khan II?

FR: I think that Amir was approached by Dr. Margaret Goodman. I think that she’s the one who asked about it. But Amir has had to do drug testing anyway with his country of England.

They come to us during workouts in my gym. So he’s had it it all of the time, so that’s nothing new for Amir. We accepted it, and I don’t think that it’s a big deal.

I don’t agree with it so much because I think that the testing that is already in place is adequate. The Nevada Commission has voted to have that and they’ve felt that the testing that they already do is adequate, so they didn’t pass Olympic-style drug testing.

But this is an individual group outside of the commission that is asking for this test. I don’t really know where it’s going. I think that the testing is fine the way that it already is.

RingTV.com: Given the past criticism and innuendo surrounding your fighters, Pacquiao, Khan and Chavez Jr. as far as performance enhancing drugs, what are your thoughts on your other stable members doing it as well?

FR: I know that my guys are clean, so that’s all that I care about. I don’t believe in drugs. If I thought somebody was on drugs then I’m not going to work with them. My guys are clean. I’m not sure whose idea this was for Olympic-style drug testing.

RingTV.com: What is your take on Chavez Jr.’s performance given the distractions surrounding his fight [with Rubio]?

FR: He performed very well. I honestly thought that he would out-box this guy a little more because the guy is a big puncher and so forth.

But he told me that he felt the guy’s power early and that he felt like Rubio couldn’t hurt him, so he wanted to beat him at his own game. I was very pleased with his performance and it made for a great fight.

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 RingTV.com: Given Martinez’s performance against Macklin, would Chavez Jr. be ready for Martinez?

FR: I would say yes to that, but the thing is that I would rather see him fight Canelo first because that’s the bigger fight. I think that that’s the second biggest fight today.

It’s a fight that I’m not sure who would win. I would like that fight first, and then I would like the winner to fight Martinez. That’s just the way that I would prefer it.

But if Martinez comes to the table and they come up with the right amount of money, then I would fight him tomorrow, yes.

RingTV.com: Who is being mentioned as Chavez Jr.’s next opponent?

FR: They asked me the other day about James Kirkland, the kid from Texas who fought the other night. Ann Wolfe’s fighter. I said, “Yeah, take it.”

But they did ask about that. *I think that would be an easy fight for us. The guy from Nicaragua was offered. The crazy one. **Mayorga. So, we’ve been looking at a lot of things, but no one has offered Martinez up yet.

**Note: Chavez’s manager, Billy Keane, told RingTV.com that he mentioned Kirkland to Roach only in passing, and that HBO did not like and was not interested in Chavez-Mayorga.


 

Read more:

Chavez Jr. granted a continuance on drunk driving charge

Pacquiao says God wants him to retire, vows to stop gambling, womanizing

Legal troubles mount for Pacquiao in his native Philippines

Q&A: Khan discusses drug testing, Pacquiao, Peterson

 

Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank

Photos by Chris Hutty, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

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

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