Words: Alan Dawson; Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Amateur standout Zou Shiming has left a lasting impression on five-time Futch-Condon award winning coach Freddie Roach that the trainer believes Shiming – a 31-year-old who makes his professional boxing debut at junior flyweight against Eleazar Valenzuela at the Cotai Arena in Macao, China on Saturday, April 6 – could be a world champion inside one year.
Words: Alan Dawson – London
Photo: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Meticulous boxing trainer Freddie Roach, the chief cornerman for WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao, has appraised the Filipino’s June 9 opponent Timothy Bradley. Roach regards Bradley’s style to be incomplete and foresees ways through the challenger’s defence. He did, though, marvel at the Californian’s sculpted physique but opined that build alone will not see Bradley triumph as Pacquiao is said to emulate his prime form.
“We had a really great training camp… the first three weeks in Baguiao [were] very successful – and the last three weeks in Los Angeles [were] great. Manny’s focus is the best I have ever seen,” Roach said recently.
Roach is known for his studious approaches to camps and sets his fighters up (whether they are Pacquiao, Amir Khan or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr) to capitalise on the weaknesses the opponent possesses. Ahead of the MGM Grand Garden Arena brawl in Las Vegas later tonight, Saturday, Roach paid respect to Bradley’s athleticism but alerted Manny to the chinks in Desert Storm Tim’s armour in advance.
“We are going against a tough opponent, a tough undefeated opponent in Bradley,” Freddie, a five-time Futch-Condon award winner stated. “I have watched a lot of tapes on him, have seen a lot of holes in his defence and we are going to take advantage of them.”
Whilst Bradley (28-0-0, 12ko) lacks the star-name of Pacquiao’s most recent victims like Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto, there is intrigue over the stylistic match-up as the challenger is five years the junior of the champion, is undefeated, on a hot streak of form and, like Pacman, throws an abundance of punches. However, Bradley is orthodox while Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) is southpaw and so toe-treading and head-clashing could occur.
“Bradley does come in head first,” noted Roach. “We have been working on how to nullify that. We have a lefty fighting against a righty. The two heads may clash, that could happen and it’s something we have to be aware of and something we will be prepared for.”
Since tasting the canvas against heavy-hitting Kendall Holt, Bradley has seldom tasted the canvas and has collected a bounty of ten scores. In contrast, Pacquiao, in his most recent outing against Juan Manuel Marquez, was pushed to the wire and secured a disputed majority decision. Roach, though, believes Bradley will not achieve the same success Marquez enjoyed as he lacks fundamental counter-punching ability.
“I have been watching Bradley a lot and he doesn’t rely very much on counter-punching. He is very offensive. He comes to fight which will make it a good fight for everybody. He comes forward and is very aggressive, he will try to fight. He is a well-conditioned athlete. He will try to prove he is the better athlete – the better-conditioned athlete [but] Manny should have a very good fight.”
Bradley has stated that he has multiple game-plans, will assess Pacquiao early on and decide when to bang or if he should box. If the latter occurs, Roach has indicated that his premier prizefighter will be “prepared”. He said: “We have a mover in camp so we are prepared if Bradley decides to move around… we are prepared for anything he brings. We make adjustments to prepare Manny for whatever may come. He’s ready for a boxer and I’m covering all my bases.”
What has been common in Pacquiao’s welterweight campaign – whether he took on Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Margarito or Mosley – was that he was the smaller man, relinquishing the height and weight advantage to his opponent. Even against Marquez, Juan Manuel weighed in one pound lighter than Pacquiao but outweighed him – unofficially – in the ring. Pacquiao is accustomed to attacking – and trumping – bigger men than himself. And, though he is slightly taller than Bradley, he will again look like the smaller man due to Timothy’s weight-lifter’s body.
“Bradley is a good opponent. [We have not fought anyone like Bradley] because he is very strong and very muscular up top. I don’t think we have fought anybody that muscular.”
Roach intends on countering Tim’s build with “experience, speed and power.” He claimed: “Experience is hard to deal with, power will knock you out.”
In a concluding remark, Roach issued a caveat to Bradley: “[Manny] is a better fighter now; he is more focused. If a knockout comes it will be a bonus. Bradley is a great fighter and he’ll be resilient, but I think you’ll see the best Manny Pacquiao yet.”
Words: Tommy Barber – London
Photos: Gene Blevins/Hogan Photos
Ahead of former WBA/IBF super lightweight world champion Amir Khan‘s fifth fight on American canvas, the 25-year-old dubbed King was subjected to a dissident’s protest as Angel Garcia, the father of his July 14 opponent Danny Garcia, brandished him “over-rated“. Garcia recently edged ring legend Erik Morales to claim the vacant WBC championship at 140lbs and makes the first defence of the belt against Amir at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
On a night that Golden Boy Promotions founder Oscar de la Hoya believes will “be exciting” and in a match-up that Freddie Roach regards to be “the best fighting the best”, Khan (26-2-0, 18ko) is set to participate in his eighth successive world title bout but does so against an undefeated boxer. Khan, though, regards Garcia (23-0-0, 14ko) to be the one who should be experiencing fear.
“I have seen him fight and he has a dangerous style,” said Khan of his opponent, who has already defeated one fighter from Britain; Ashley Theophane at Don Haskins Convention Center in El Paso, Texas, a little over two years ago. “He is tough,” Khan continued, “but he has never faced anyone like me. I promise this is going to be a good fight… a legendary fight.”
Both fighters could be highly motivated but for alternative reasons. Khan, for instance, is coming off a loss – to Lamont Peterson, whom he relinquished his brace of world titles to in Washington in a 12-round fight not short of controversy in 2011. The last time Khan fought having just been beaten was in 2008, when he demolished Oisin Fagan inside two rounds.
Furthermore, Khan was due to box Peterson in a rematch, but the bout was called off when the latter failed a drug test due to testosterone pellets that were later found to have been inserted inside the armpit as early as the build-up to their first match-up. The disruption to Khan’s fighting schedule may have provided the 2004 Olympic silver medalist with an appetite for destruction.
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old from Philadelphia, Garcia, is slowly leapfrogging significant fighters in the world ranks and is determined to improve with every in-ring appearance he makes. Garcia’s last three opponents include Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Morales, all of whom he defeated via points decisions and he is banking on adding Khan’s name to his resume: “I bring blood, sweat and tears. You haven’t seen the best of Danny Garcia.”
Any respect shown proved to be exclusive to the boxers as Garcia’s father, Angel, angered Amir by stating that he “is an overrated fighter”. Khan swiftly riposted: “When I beat your son, am I still going to be overrated? Maybe it’s Danny who is the one who is overrated.”
Danny even acknowledged that he will have to be on top of his game if he is to return to the East Coast with the W on his record, as he labelled Khan “a great fighter”. He added: “When you put two great fighters together, you have to fight your best to get the win. This is a big fight, but every fight is a big fight for me.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Five-time Futch-Condon award winner Freddie Roach is confident his premier charge Manny Pacquiao will quell the talk he is on the decline by defeating resilient Timothy Bradley when the two tussle for the WBO welterweight world championship on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas. Roach expects the best Pacquiao yet, as the multi-divisional boxing king from the Philippines has minimal distractions…
“Manny’s focus is very good,” said Roach, 52, who has overseen Pacquiao’s training camp in Baguio and in Hollywood. “We don’t have days where he comes in tired and so forth because he has no nightlife whatsoever, besides the bible study. He is very focused on the fight. He and God are very close right now and he is just a better athlete – with no distractions.”
Against Bradley, Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) will be taking on a pugilist enjoying his prime years who has an undefeated record and three world titles at 140lb in his locker. Roach has been constructing the game-plan to negate Bradley’s best assets: his unyielding determination, confidence, durability and in-ring skills.
“If a knockout comes it will be a bonus,” mused Roach. “Bradley is a great fighter and he’ll be resilient, but I think you’ll see the best Manny Pacquiao yet.”
Pacquiao added: “I don’t know what Tim Bradley will bring in the ring on that night but we will be ready for whatever he brings. I know he will be 100 percent conditioned for the fight. We have practiced every kind of fight in the ring with four different sparring partners. We have trained hard for Bradley because he is the type of fighter we cannot underestimate.”
On The Beak – Admin
Five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, coach of Manny Pacquiao, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Amir Khan, predicts the jab of WBA welterweight world champion Vyacheslav Senchenko will be the difference in his Saturday, April 29 world title defence against challenger Paulie ‘Magic Man’ Malignaggi, airing live on pay per view from Donboss Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine.
Undefeated Senchenko (32-0-0, 21ko), rated number five in the world by The Ring magazine, has been training at Roach’s famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. The 2000 Ukraine Olympian captured the WBA title in 2009, winning a 12-round decision from previously undefeated Yuriy Nuzhnenko, and Vyacheslav has successfully defended his world title belt three times: Motoki Sasaki (DEC12), Charlie Jose Navarro (DEC12) and more recently Marco Antonio Avendano (TKO6) last August in his last fight.
“Senchenko is a very, very good boxer with good technique,” Roach recently said from his California boxing club. “He has good height and a good punch. He had a great amateur background. Ukraine has the number one program in the world this year. It has a very good program and Senchenko is very well schooled. His jab is his best weapon and I think that will be the difference in this fight. He has a faster jab than Malignaggi and it should control the fight.
“I think Senchenko’s boxing ability will enable him to out-score Paulie to win a decision. Paulie is very game. He’ll bring the fight and make it exciting. Going to the Ukraine is not like going into hostile territory. The promoter [Yuri Ruban, Union Boxing] over there is very fair. One time I had a fighter from there – I thought he won – but he lost a decision at home. There will be neutral judges and the winner will be the real winner.”
The brash Malignaggi (30-4, 6ko) a former IBF junior welterweight champion, is unbeaten since moving up to welterweight with impressive wins against Michael Lozada (TKO6), Jose Miguel Cotto (DEC10) and Orlando Lora (DEC10).
“Paulie has a lot of heart,” Roach noted. “He always tries to win and gives 100 percent. He came to my gym after he lost to Amir Khan – my fighter – but I didn’t have time to work with him. One of my best trainers, Eric Brown, is training Paulie. It wouldn’t have been fair for me to watch Paulie train here to a fight a guy I train. A decision was made by all of us that it would be better if Paulie didn’t train here. Paulie’s getting ready for this fight at home (New York City but he recently shifted training camp to Milan, Italy). There were no bad words or feelings. Paulie’s a nice kid. He speaks his mind and I like people like that.”
Training a fighter for an opponent trained by one of his assistant trainers, like it is for Roach against the Brown-trained Malignaggi, is something that seldom happens: “It’s a little unusual but it does happen,” Freddie concluded. “I may have a similar situation of [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr fighting Vanes [Martirosyan]. I train and like both of them. It’s not fair… maybe I’ll stay at home. There’s been talk of Amir fighting Manny [Pacquiao] someday. I don’t think it’ll happen; they respect each other so much, but business is business.”
Senchenko vs. Malignaggi, presented by Union Boxing Promotion, is being distributed in the United States by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 1:00 PM/ET – 10:00 AM/PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via iN Demand, DIRECTV, DISH Network and Avail-TVN for a suggested retail price of $29.95. Click here for additional information.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Following Manny Pacquiao‘s two underwhelming victories over the 12-round distance in 2011 against Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez, renowned trainer Freddie Roach has declared that he is eager to see his premier prizefighter obtain a thrilling knockout when he takes on WBO welterweight world title challenger Timothy Bradley on Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas.
The Bradley duel will be Pacquiao’s fourth defence of the world championship at 147lbs that he won due to his headline-grabbing final round technical knockout of Miguel Cotto in 2009, however, the Filipino’s critics point to his subsequent welterweight contests – versus Joshua Clottey, Mosley and Marquez – and claim the nature of his wins against this trio have paled in comparison to the climactic domination of Cotto.
Against Clottey, Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) triumphed in a one-sided encounter. He was unable to stop Mosley and Marquez counter-punched his way to a competitive majority decision defeat in a fight in which some observers regarded his work to be superior to that of Pacman.
A knockout winning performance over Bradley (28-0-0, 12ko); an in-form 28-year-old who is undefeated as a professional and has dominated the super lightweight division, would go some way in silencing Pacquiao’s vocal detractors and, speaking to Boxing Talk, Roach said: “I think Manny will have a spectacular win. The fans want to see a knockout; I want to see a knockout.
“Bradley is aggressive, he comes to fight and will be fighting until the end but I think Manny will catch him coming in, and knock him out in the later rounds.”
Bradley, who has limited experience campaigning at welterweight, has no intention of submitting when it is time to trade shots in June: “I have what it takes to beat him,” he said. “Many people always promise knock outs and they don’t happen.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
The consensus number one super lightweight in the world, Timothy Bradley, makes a return trip to welterweight to challenge pound-for-pound favourite Manny Pacquiao for the Filipino’s WBO welterweight world championship belt but is not encumbered by the underdog status he has attracted. Rather, he has no qualms about risking his undefeated status as he is confident of securing victory and that is something Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach admires…
The Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) and Bradley match-up – set for Saturday, June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas – was not the first choice fight for fans as well as for Roach, who has long hoped to pit his premier fighter in with the self-titled may-per-view king; Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Despite much press from both sides, a fight on Cinco de Mayo proved too problematic to book and so both fighters turned to a back-up… for Pacquiao, it was Bradley (28-0-0, 12ko) while Mayweather elected to box WBA super welterweight belt holder Miguel Cotto.
Following yet another round of failed negotiations, Roach was left unconvinced that Mayweather (42-0-0, 26ko) truly desired the P4P showdown with Pacquiao, something he reiterated this week in a veiled barb as he commended Bradley for rising to the challenge. “I’m just glad Manny is fighting an undefeated fighter who is more concerned about winning, than he is about protecting his record,” said Roach.
Regardless of the outcome, Bradley has risked his zero on numerous occasions in the past. The most notable of which was a two-belt unification bout with Devon Alexander last year… a fight that, before it’s commencement, was deemed to be a 50/50 contest yet, on retrospect, appeared unworthy of the hype that it generated due to it’s anti-climactic nature.
Bradley, though, pipped Alexander. This, on top of victories over Miguel Vazquez, Junior Witter, Kendall Holt and an emphatic decision win over Lamont Peterson that looks even finer now that Peterson himself unified two major titles in the 140lbs weight class with his inside pounding of Amir Khan last year.
“I know how to win,” explained Desert Storm Timothy. “I talk winning. I go into the ring and win. Manny Pacquiao is the world’s greatest fighter. I have always been an underdog all of my life but I will win and we will rematch in November.”
Pacquiao, who will begin a ten week training camp at the end of March, commented: “Timothy Bradley is undefeated and hungry. He does not know how to lose.
“This will be a great fight – champion versus champion.”
On The Beak – Admin
Emerging 140lber Ruslan Provodnikov has been training with soon-to-be 2012 International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee – Freddie Roach – at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Hollywood, California. Ruslan (20-1-0, 13ko) is preparing for his January 27 fight against David Torres (21-1-1, 13ko) at the Northern Quest Casino in Washington, scheduled for ten rounds for the WBO Intercontinental title… the fight will headline ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights”.
Freddie said: “I’ve been working with Ruslan in the gym. I can’t be in his corner that night, but he’s a great kid and a great prospect and I plan to work with him in the future.”
Ruslan’s co-manager, Vadim Kornilov, added: “Ruslan has a lot of respect for Freddie and he thinks Freddie will bring a lot of success to the team. Freddie can’t get away to come to the fight – he’s in camp with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr – but he’ll probably send one of his assistants to work Ruslan’s corner that night.
“Ruslan’s very happy with the way his preparation has been going, and he’s looking forward to working with Freddie again.”
On The Beak – Admin
The trailer for a Cinéma vérité (film truth) docuseries directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Very Bad Things, Hancock) that profiles five time Futch-Condon award winner Freddie Roach and his Wildcard Boxing Club in Los Angeles has been released by HBO. The moving images so far look strong and are sure to generate further interest for the program that premieres on Friday, January 20 at 21:30 EST.
(Embedded video above credit – Youtube, HBOsports)
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
It’s a pound-for-pound super showdown that’s failed twice at the negotiation table in the past two years, a match-up that would surpass all pay-per-view figures in boxing and one that would unify two alphabet titles… WBC welterweight world championship incumbent Floyd Mayweather Jr wants it, WBO titlist at 147lbs Manny Pacquiao wants it but the team behind the Filipino have mixed opinions about how the bout can turn from pipe-dream into reality.
“I’m ready to put my belt up. What about you Manny Pacquiao? Let’s make history,” Mayweather (42-0-0, 26ko) said via his official Twitter account yesterday, Wednesday, one day after calling “punk” Pacman out for a fight on May 5.
There had been increasing suggestions that Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) would not shirk from the challenge and meet it head on, however, his trainer; Freddie Roach, trusted adviser; Michael Koncz and promoter; Bob Arum, of Top Rank Boxing, have all made public their thoughts and, although differing from each other, all suggest a further postponement to what is already a protracted and laboured attempt at putting together two of the finest fighters from the past decade.
“I think it has to happen in 2012, because people are starting to say, ‘Who cares at this point?’” explained Roach regarding the frustration felt by fans during a segment with host Mario Diaz of WPIX. “It is starting to lose momentum instead of gaining, so they better do it this year. I definitely think it will be the second fight for both of them this year. I think they will both have one more fight, a tune-up fight.”
Mayweather’s allowance to push his 87-day jail sentence back until June 1 hinged on his previous commitment to box on Cinco de Mayo so, in the event that Pacquiao is not his opponent, another – likely Saul Canelo Alvarez – will be drafted in. For Pacquiao, it could well be a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez the following month.
Pushing the Mayweather v Pacquiao fight into the second half of the year is a stance also advocated by Koncz, who regards the MGM Grand Garden Arena’s 16,800 seats to have a capacity too meagre for a contest of this calibre. Koncz, like Bob Arum, believes a makeshift 40,000 seat arena should be constructed on the strip. Such a task would render a May 5 date too soon.
“Why would I tell Manny to fight on the 5th and throw away a percentage of 30 million? That’s crazy,” Koncz was quoted by AP to have said, perhaps overlooking the fact that Las Vegas already has a mega-stadium – the Motor Speedway – that could entertain 140,000 people.
Arum echoed Koncz’s views on the outdoor ground: “[The fight] could happen very easily,” he said during an address on GMA TV in the Philippines. “[But] the fight badly needs [the makeshift arena].”