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FREDDIE ROACH: "I TALKED TO BOB ARUM...THE FIGHT WILL HAPPEN!"

By Percy Crawford | July 25, 2008
FREDDIE ROACH:

"I talked to Bob Arum about it and he just told me to let him do his job. He's going to try and negotiate the deal. If it can be negotiated, the fight will happen...At this juncture of his career, I think Manny's on top of the world. He's very motivated right now and I think he just has too much speed and he can beat Oscar. Let's let Bob do his job and we'll see what happens," stated world-renowned trainer Freddie Roach as he talked about negotiations for a potential clash between Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya. Check out what else he had to say as Freddie shares his thoughts on the fight. Plus, Roach, who's now crossed over into MMA, discusses Andrei Arlovski's recent win over Ben Rothwell, a possible move for him into boxing and much more.

PC: How are you doing Freddie?

FR: I'm doing good; just staying busy. I'm flying out to Las Vegas tonight for Bernabe's fight and then coming right back next week with Kirilov, who's defending his title in Washington.

PC: I saw you at the Affliction show. You've been doing some work with Andrei Arlovski. How do you feel about his performance?

FR: I thought Andrei fought a great fight. I've been training his hands and I think he won the fight with his hands pretty much and I was happy about that. His ground game looked okay, but I don't know nothing about that (laughing). I'm still a boxing guy and that's all I do is teach guys how to box. I don't go any further than that.

PC: Do you expect to see more boxers go into MMA or vice versa?

FR: I think there will be some crossover, of course. Andrei may fight his next fight as a pure boxing match. He's been working with my guys here, Juan Carlos Gomez and some other world class fighters. He holds his own with them. I would like to see him crossover into both sports and I think he's capable of it. The thing is it's all about business and where he could make more money.

PC: His punches were definitely straighter, more accurate and in combination. Is that what you had been working on with him?

FR: Yeah, we were working on combinations. I thought he varied his punches very well. His opponent was very tough. I was surprised he took so much punishment. He hung in there. I'm a fight fan and anywhere there is a good fight, I don't care if it's MMA, boxing, UFC or Affliction, a good fight is a good fight and it's great for the crowd. Andrei is not a boring fighter. He's a stand-up fighter and that seems to be, at least in my mind, more exciting than the ground game. I know there's technique to the ground game, but unfortunately, I don't know it that well. He had his Jiu Jitsu coach in the corner with me and his wrestling coach, so yeah, it gets a little complicated for me on the ground. When it's on the ground, my instructions are to get up (laughing). When he's on his feet, he seems more comfortable. He has possibly a good future in the heavyweight division. He's a big strong guy and a pretty good puncher. I think he'll do ok.

PC: With the state of the heavyweight division, do you think once he's gotten his feet wet, he could compete with some of the champions, including Klitschko?

FR: There is always interest in him fighting Klitschko because he's from Belarus and Klitschko is from Kiev so you have the rivalry of the 2 former Soviet Union countries and so fourth. Then, of course, him and Fedor in an MMA fight, so they have some big fights out there for him actually. I think maybe if he does go pro in boxing, we're going to start him off at a little higher level than most guys because he does have experience in the ring. The thing is if Tye Fields would have won his last fight, I was talking with Arum about making that fight. Of course Tye Fields lost and now we'll have to go in a different direction, but I think he's sound enough to beat somebody like that.

PC: Manny Pacquiao is where you said he would be at this stage of his career. Do you think we've seen his best or is there still room for growth?

FR: I think that the Diaz fight is going to give him so much confidence in both hands. We've been working on using both hands in the gym for so long and it's been showing a little bit at a time; a little bit here and a little bit there, but he really put it together against Diaz. I know he's going to be better next time out because he has so much confidence in his right hand now. It worked so well for him and now he knows how to use it. I think Pacquiao can still get better.

PC: I read where you are more than confident in putting Pacquiao in there with De La Hoya for his final fight. What do you think of a Pacquiao-De La Hoya fight?

FR: I talked to Bob Arum about it and he just told me to let him do his job. He's going to try and negotiate the deal. If it can be negotiated, the fight will happen. I definitely think my guy will win the fight. I would never put my guy in a fight I didn't think he could win. At this juncture of his career, I think he's on top of the world. He's very motivated right now and I think he just has too much speed and he can beat Oscar. Let's let Bob do his job and we'll see what happens.

PC: Did you ever think you would see Manny fight this heavy in weight?

FR: I never thought we would go this high to be honest with you, but this particular fight that we're talking about with Oscar is at 147 and not a pound more. I think it will be to our advantage; Manny weighed 146 going into his last fight so Manny is getting a little bigger so the weight's not a problem. I thin he can handle it.

PC: Who do you like Saturday night between Cotto and Margarito?

FR: I can't even say. I can see that fight going both ways. Who ever has a good night, that's who is going to win that fight. I'm just looking forward to watching a great fight. I got Concepcion on the show. I will be in Vegas tomorrow. I'm glad I get to be there for the big show because on paper, it looks like the best fight of the year.

PC: Enjoy the fights Freddie. Good luck Saturday with Concepcion. Is there anything you want to say in closing?

FR: Thanks for everything and I'll talk to you soon.

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