LAS VEGAS — RingTV.com caught up to trainer Freddie Roach, who is in town for Thursday night’s Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame fan event at the MGM Grand entitled “A Night with Boxing Legends” at Diego’s Méxican Cuisine restaurant.
The brainchild of longtime boxing commentator and historian Rich Marotta, of KFI Radio, Los Angeles, the Nevada Hall of Fame’s event will boast Roach, former champion Mike “The Body Snatcher” McCallum, referee Joe Cortez and Showtime boxing commentator Al Bernstein in “meet and greet,” Q&A, bring the boxing community together type thing,” according to Marotta.
Now with trainer Virgil Hunter, Khan was with Roach prior to facing Carlos Molina last December. Khan lost back-to-back fights to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia by disputed split-decision and fourth-round stoppage in December of 2011 and July of last year, respectively.
Khan left Roach following the loss to Garcia, ending a run of 10 bouts and an 8-2 mark that includes four stoppage wins. Khan began working with Roach following his 54-second knockout loss to Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in September of 2008.
From there, Khan won eight straight fights, four of them by knockout, and earned two major 140-pound title belts. That stretch also included knockouts of New Yorkers Zab Judah, the current IBF 140-pound beltholder at the time, and former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, as well as victories over Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik.
A five-time Trainer of The Year, Roach is the proprietor at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Calif., where he often trains Manny Pacquiao and formerly worked with Khan, among others.
Another trainer out of Wild Card is Eric Brown, who has guided the careers of WBO middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin and WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi. In his past two victories over previously unbeaten Hassan N’Dam and Fernando Guerrero by unanimous decision and seventh-round stoppage respectively, Quillin scored six, and, four knockdowns, respectively.
Malignaggi, meanwhile, has a June 22 defense of his belt against rising WBC lightweight titleholder Adrien “The Problem” Broner at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, for which a press conference is being held on Saturday morning at the MGM Grand.
Roach also spoke about Khan and Brown as well as the future of Pacquiao, loser of his past two bouts by disputed split-decision to WBO beltholder Tim Bradley and sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez in June and December.
Bradley and Marquez will reportedly meet on Sept. 14 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, leaving Pacquiao the possibility of facing one of two junior welterweights — Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado.
Roach spoke to RingTV.com in this Q&A:
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on Khan’s last two performances?
Freddie Roach: He’s a great athlete, but his problem is that he likes to stay in the pocket and exchange too long. He’s such a great athlete that he can be in and out before the guy hits him back.
The problem is that he likes to trade, and, you know, he doesn’t have a great chin. But if he would just use his boxing ability, he would be fine. The thing is, some guys have a better chin than others. That’s just a fact of life. We’ve seen that in our world. That does happen. But the thing is, with him, he just likes to exchange too much.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on Brown with Quillin and Malignaggi?
FR: I think Eric’s a great guy. Works hard in my gym. A great guy. I support him. He’s very supportive and he’s doing a great job.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on Broner-Malignaggi?
FR: Broner’s moving up two weight classes, and Malignaggi’s got a lot of experience. They’re both my friends. I like both guys. I wish them both the best of luck, and the best man will win.
Paulie’s doing really well. He’s come a long way. He’s boxing a lot better. He went to the Ukraine and beat [Vyacheslav] Senchenko for the world title. I used to train Senchenko. That was a good win over there. Senchenko’s a good fighter.
This is the young versus the old. It’s experience versus strength. Malignaggi is a lot stronger at this weight than in the past, and we don’t know if Broner’s going to bring the strength up with him. There’s a lot of questions to be answered.
But I do think that Paulie will give us those answers. Because one thing about Paulie is that he’s a lot tougher than people think. He’s a tough guy who has no quit in him. Paulie’s there until the end usually, so it’s a great fight.
RingTV.com: Who do you think Pacquiao will fight next?
FR: Alvarado or Rios. Alvarado, we’ve worked with before. I think that Rios is probably a better fight, action-wise. We would like that. We like when Manny looks spectacular in an action-packed fight.
I think that Manny fights in the pocket really, really well, and we think that Rios might stay in the pocket a little too long, but either guy is fine. Whoever Manny picks would be great. I’ll get him ready for either one.
RingTV.com: Are you disappointed that you didn’t get either Marquez or Bradley?
FR: Well we wanted to fight Marquez, first, and Marquez wouldn’t fight us. Bradley was our second choice, and we lost both of those guys. Both guys talked about wanting a rematch.
But then, they chose to fight each other instead. They would make a lot more money with Manny, so I don’t know why they went that way. But, I don’t know. Maybe they’re scared. I don’t know if they’re scared or what.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org