By Robert Brown: Recently Freddy Roach has become a rare celebrity trainer with a recent successful HBO documentary which chronicled his over 30 years involvement in the sport of boxing and his long and continuing battle with the rigors of Parkinson’s disease.
Roach has in his own way become as or even more famous than his growing stable of fighters, which include future hall of famer and multi division champion Manny Pacquiao and former 140lb champion Amir Khan, who recently lost his belts to Danny Garcia in a devastating and brutal KO and as a result Khan is reassessing his future and now deciding on whether to change trainers..
I have heard whispers that hired gun trainer and famed father of undefeated world champion Floyd money Mayweather, Floyd joy Mayweather Senior, wants to train Khan, I think that Mayweather senior would be magnificent in improving Khan’s gaping holes, technical flaws in his defence, which is practically non-existent, however at this stage in his career I think changing a fighter from an offensive minded trainer like Roach to a completely defensive minded trainer could be a potentially disastrous error.
There is no doubt in my mind that Khan needs to change trainers and my reasoning for coming to that conclusion is this, don’t get me wrong, I think Roach is one of the best strategists and game plan developers in the sport, however he either has a distinct inability to fix up technical flaws in his fighters or has an inability to instruct his fighters on how to remedy these issues, either of these issues is a massive problem.
Amir Khan keeps getting hit with straight left hands and seems to have an inability to avoid these punches as seen in the Maidana fight, in which he was lucky to win and almost got knocked out in the 10th round and as well as not being able to avoid the punches Khan also either didn’t know how or refused to tie his man up, which is one of the basics that a world class fighter should know how to do when they are in a desperate situation. Khan seems to have a flaw in his mental makeup where ever since the Prescott fight Khan wants to prove to people that he can take hard punches which continually puts him in dangerous situations and in danger of getting knocked out, and Freddy Roach should have been able to impress upon him that he does not need to take these punches, Roach either does not have a defensive remedy to solve this problem or has not been able to get Khan to listen to him, either scenario is a major problem.
Pacquiao has also had the same major technical flaws for a number of years which as of yet have not been solved, Pacquaio falls in after throwing left hooks and straight left hands over balances which leaves him open to straight right hand counters and right uppercuts continually, he also stands stationary after throwing jabs not moving his head which leaves him open to countering opportunities as have been exposed by Marquez in there three fights over and over again, Pacquaio also seems unable to cut off the ring and was exposed most glaringly by Sugar Shane Mosley, who was able to continually avoid punches which enabled him to stay on his feet throughout the fight, these are the same technical faults that have existed for a number of years that Roach has not been able to solve, yes I acknowledge that Freddy has done a great job in adding dimensions to Pacquaio’s offensive arsenal, however he has not been able to solve any of Pacquaio’s foot work issues or his defensive faults.
I think the only way for Amir Khan to progress is to change trainers, either to Emanuel Steward, Ronnie Shields or Virgil Hunter that are Predominately offensive trainers but by my estimation better at teaching fundamental skills and identifying and rectifying technical flaws than Roach is currently unable to do.
I would just like to add that it has been hard writing a critical piece on someone I respect so highly, because don’t get me wrong Freddy Roach is a great man who has dedicated his life to the sport, however I think it’s possible without him either realising he has allowed his new found celebrity status to distract him from the job at hand or his higher level of exposure has allowed us to discover the deficiency’s that very few have previously noticed, either way I still think he has been great for the sport, my advice is to cut back on the media a little.