LAS VEGAS — Angel Hernandez said that Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, is trying to mentally distract Juan Manuel Marquez out of fear. The controversial strength and conditioning guru accused Roach of implying that the Mexican four-division titlewinner has taken performance enhancing drugs.
“Perhaps maybe he’s just scared about the fight, you know? And he’s throwing what we call in Mexico, ‘some dying kicks,’ you know?” said Hernandez, following Wednesday’s final press conference for Saturday’s matchup at the MGM Grand, the fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez.
“But, other than that, we’re pretty happy, we’re comfortable, we’re ready to go in Marquez’s camp. None of this has distracted us in any way.”
Marquez sparked controversy and came under scrutiny for hiring Hernandez for his last fight against Pacquiao, since Hernandez had been widely known to have a history of being involved in performance-enhancing activities.
A graduate of Texas A&M’s exercise science program, Hernandez was known as 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.
Hernandez never was convicted of any crimes, although he 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.
Hernandez was hired by Marquez in order to achieve better results than he did in his welterweight debut, a one-sided unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September of 2009, and has insisted that his state-of-the-art techniques helped Marquez to gain strength and weight for Pacquiao.
Although Marquez lost a disputed decision to Pacquiao in November, he was much stronger and more stable than he had been during their previous two meetings.
Pacquiao floored Marquez three times in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and dropped him once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008.
“Today [Wednesday,] we’re going to meet up with my lawyers, and we’re probably going to file a lawsuit against Roach,” said Hernandez. “Not the team, not Pacquiao, but Roach — and that’s a fact.”
The Pacquiao-Marquez undercard will be highligted by former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 knockoutts) against Filipino Michael Farenas (34-3-4, 26 KOs), left-handed featherweight Javier Fortuna (20-0, 15 KOs) opposite Patrick Hyland (27-0, 12 KOs), and IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez (32-3, 13 KOs) against Mercito Gesta (26-0, 14 KOs).
The card will also feature the debut of Mexican-American amateur sensation Jose Ramirez, who is considered to be among the premiere prospects in the 2012 Olympic Games in London despite being eliminated following his first-round victory.
HYLAND RELISHES ROLE AS UNDERDOG
The clash of unbeatens between Fortuna and Hyland pits puncher against boxer.
“It’s a different league than what I’ve been used to doing. The caliber of boxers who are on the show and everything. It’s just amazing. I think that this is what you’re in the boxing game for, to have people like this watching. I hope to be head-lining one of these massive shows one of these time,” said Hyland, who acknowledged that Fortuna is favored.
“I don’t mind that. I don’t mind being the underdog. I like being the underdog. But Fortuna is a world-class fighter, and everyone’s saying that he’s supposed to be the next big wave of boxing. But he has me in his way, so he has to cope with me first.”
RAMIREZ TO FACE COREY SIEGWARTH
Ramirez, 20, went 145-11 as an amateur, winning 11 national titles. As a lightweight, Ramirez, of Avenal, Calif., surpassed Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley to become USA Boxing’s all-time record-holder.
Ramirez is taking on Corey Siegwarth (2-1, 1 KO), of Denver, Colo., who is coming off a four-round decision loss to Johnny Torres in August.
50 CENT WANTS TO MATCH GAMBOA AGAINST ADRIEN BRONER
“I want to put [Gamboa] in the exciting fights, and he wants the same. He has the talent level that makes him not so wishy-washy. Some fighters duck and dodge people, and not Gamboa. The difficult part is actually matching up people who will actually show up when it’s time to actually do it,” said Jackson during an interview with RingTV.com.
“There is a lot of talent out there that is close to his weight. You’ve Broner out there, now that’s a fight to watch. Adrien Broner and Gamboa would be a fight to watch. I think that’s exciting. It could turn into the new Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao. If they stay away from each other long enough, it could be one of those fights that is anticipated as much as that fight is.”
Gamboa will be in the ring for the first time since he decisioned current WBC featherweight beltholder Daniel Ponce de Leon in September of last year.
“The training camp was long, but it was a great training camp. But we changed the training for this camp because we know that he’s a left-hander. We’re ready for every fight,” said Gamboa.
“I’m a boxer with a lot of experience, and I’ll make him fight my fight, even though I know he’s got a lot of experience. I feel so good, I’m well-prepared, and the time I’ve been out of the ring won’t be apparent on Saturday.”
JACKSON TO SWIM WITH THE SHARKS
Jackson already has proven himself ready to deal with the sharks of boxing, having successfully navigated the music and movie industry, the latter of which has included roles opposote actors such as Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino.
“I’m familiar with this kind of environment and element. It’s interesting. There are no real motives for people other than being intimidated by my presence that they would try to create roadblocks for me. I’m fine with that,” said Jackson.
“I’ll work my way past those obstacles, because I will continue to be surrounded by more great talent moving forward. It will create more influence and power where the networks [HBO and Showtime] will have to roll, or they will lose the ability to utilize the fighters.”
adding that he has invested “a few million, a couple million.”
“The first million is hard to make. There are limitless opportunities as far as what the shows can be. You can enhance it and go further,” said Jackson.
“With me being a part of boxing you’ll never have boxers claiming that I beat them financially. I didn’t come for that. I have a reputation in different areas that it wouldn’t make sense for me to associate myself with the sport to do that.”
FARENAS TO 50 CENT: ‘NO LOLLIPOP’
Farenas may have delivered the best line of the day, when he expressed his admiration for Jackson, while at the same time indicating his intentions to beat Gamboa.
“I’m a big fan of 50,” said Farenas. “But on Saturday night, no lollipop,” a reference to the title of one of Jackson’s past hits.
GESTA WAS BORN IN A BOXING GYM
Gesta was literally born into his legacy, the house of his birth in Cebu, Philippines, having been a converted boxing gym.
“I worn in a house that was like a gym, so, basically, it’s like I was born in a gym. That was our house, but my dad was into sports, so they put a gym in there. After that, we moved into a different house, but we made the original house a real gym,” said Gesta.
“All of my life, all that I’ve known since I was a kid was training. I grew up thinking that all of the kids were doing the same thing that I was doing, but then, I’m different. I’m training with my dad when I thought that was normal. So that’s why I’m like, ‘I was born in a gym.”
VAZQUEZ TO GESTA: ‘COME AND GET IT’
Gesta’s trainer and manager, Vincent Parra, delivered a long speech at the podium designed to draw Vazquez out of his awkward, boxing style and into more of a toe-to-toe battle with his fighter, like traditional Mexicans such as Julio Cesar Chavez.
During his turn at the podium, Vazquez was non-committal.
“I’m going to show you what I’m made of. You’re a great fighter, but you’re not invincible,” said Vazquez, a winner of 11 straight fights, three of which were by stoppage, since falling by unanimous decision in a clash of 148-pounders to current WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“I’m here to win. Listen, I have a unique style, and if you can trap me, then go ahead and come. If you feel that you can beat me, then come on and get it.”
ANDRE WARD SUFFERS SHOULDER INJURY IN ADVANCE OF KELLY PAVLIK FIGHT
RingTV.com has confirmed a report by Sports Illustrated that RING, WBA and WBC super middleweight champion Andre Ward has suffered a shoulder injury in advance of his scheduled defense against former undisputed middleweight titleholder Kelly Pavlik on an HBO-televised card on Jan. 26 that is to include a heavyweight co-feature between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne.
“Andre tweaked his right shoulder in training the other day, and he had an MRI. There are no tears, no torn rotator cuff, no other major damage, so that’s great,” said Ward’s promoter, Dan Goossen.
“But what he has is swelling and inflammation, which means that what he’s got to do is to rest it and get therapy on it. That will push us to postpone the fight for about 30 days, and we’re looking for a late February date to reschedule.”
Goossen is the event’s lead promoter, handling Ward and Arreola on a show that will take place at USC’s Galen Center in Los Angeles.
Ward (26-0, 14 knockouts) is coming off an HBO-televised 10th-round knockout of RING and WBC light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson in September. Prior to that title defense, he dethroned Carl Froch as WBC 168-pound beltholder by unanimous decision in the finals of Showtime’s Super Six Super Middleweight Classic last December.
A 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Ward became the first man to stop Dawson, whom he floored during the third, fourth and 10th rounds. Ward fought through a broken left hand to defeat Froch and was later named Fighter of The Year for 2011 and the recipient of the Sugar Ray Robinson Trophy from the Boxing Writers’ Association of America.
Pavlik (40-2, 34 KOs) is coming off his fourth straight victory with a unanimous decision over Will Rosinsky in July. Pavlik burst onto the scene with a seventh-round knockout of then-undisputed and previously undefeated middleweight titleholder Jermain Taylor in September of 2007.
Pavlik was later dethroned as WBC and WBO 160-pound titleholder via unanimous decision by Sergio Martinez in April of 2010, and has since fought at or above 168 pounds.
Ward also owns a decision victory from November of 2009 over Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler, who has won three straight, two of them by knockout, since falling to Ward.
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com