In the wake of the coronavirus, several fighters have been aiming to get back in the ring to compete. From the openers to the main eventers, everyone is doing what they can. What about the trainers of the fighters? Like they do during fight days, the top advisors give the best advice.
On the latest “From The Corner” With Chris Mannix, trainers Freddie Roach, Robert Garcia and Andre Rozier spoke about the sport and its future. These men have helped several fighters within the Matchroom Boxing brand and beyond.
Roach: Manny Pacquiao, Jose Ramerez, Jorge Linares, Miguell Cotto, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Garcia: Chris Algieri, Mikey Garcia, Brandon Rios, Kelly Pavlik, Egidijus Kavaliauskas
Rozier: Demetrius Andrade, Sadam Ali, Daniel Jacobs (former), Richard Commey
They know what makes them tick and what does and doesn’t work. During the interview, the trio gave their opinions on what has been going on and how fighters can handle it themselves. Some samples below:
Garcia on the lockdown: “It’s tough, fighters fight for a living and without having any income coming in they have to look for support elsewhere. There are some fortunate fighters like Mikey Garcia and Manny Pacquiao that are getting big paydays but besides those guys, boxers are going to struggle especially if this goes on for four, five more months, fighters are going to be in trouble.”
Roach on sparring: “Mike Tyson said to me one day ‘why do I have to spar with three different sparring partners? Can’t we make it fair and have me spar with one guy for the whole day?’ I said, ‘well Mike you know that’s not how it works’ but he tried to convince me! Mike was a character! He KO’d a lot of guys in sparring early in his career, but he wasn’t bad on them later in his career when he was with me. He said to me once, ‘Freddie, you don’t have to get up in the morning and do road work with me, I will do it myself anyway,’ and I said ‘yeah, I am just here to spy on you a little bit and make sure you get up!’
Rozier on boxing behind closed doors: “Sergey Derevyanchenko and I spoke about it. I asked him about there being no fans and he’s such a nonchalant guy he just said, ‘it’s OK coach, I do what I have to do’. Fighters are going to have to make it work, you can’t say no, you have to fight. You can’t tell a promoter ‘oh I don’t have an audience so I can’t fight’.
“I’m praying we’ll be back eventually but to get the ball bouncing, we’re going to have to get in the ring in arenas by ourselves, and Robert and Freddie and I will be the guys cheering the fighters on from our corners! The guys that are always in swing-bouts will be ready for this big time!”
Garcia on sparring: “I’ve thought about it and we cannot stop sparring. The guys need it. Like Freddie, I remember the days when I would spar every day, I think three days a week is enough now to get the rounds in. We don’t have to bring outside guys in really with the guys we have in there, but sometimes I’ll call the Wild Card and ask if there’s someone for one of my guys, and sometimes I’ll get the call from the Wild Card to send a guy over there. We won’t really have a problem as all the guys are living, eating, and training together so it’s not going to affect us too much. Jose Ramirez always wants to spar Vergil Ortiz, because he gets the best work from him.”
Roach on boxing behind closed doors: “Gabriel Rosado had a fight in an empty arena in Phoenix and it was really hard to motivate him, we had to push him to fight after the Jacobs-Chavez Jr. fight had emptied the arena. It was unusual but at least he’s had practice at it. It was difficult for him to get his combinations going and get pumped up, there was no crowd just some officials, judges and the cornermen, that’s it – and we’ll have to get used to that for some time because that’s the path we’re on right now.”
Rozier on sparring: “Sparring is the essence of the practice. I’m not saying your guys have to kill each other in sparring, but you have to formulate your attack plans, your footwork, your ring generalship and that’s how you gain your experience, by sparring. So, it’s going to be really difficult, the only good thing going on with my crew of guys is that they are so diverse that they can spar with each other, I don’t have to call guys in from outside.”