Sunday, December 03, 2023  |


Pacquiao-Marquez scheduling conflict threatens Roach’s role in Chavez’s corner

Fighters Network

Freddie Roach still is unsure whether he will be in the corner of WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for his defense against Ronald Hearns on Sept. 17 in Chavez's native Culiacan, Mex.

A potential scheduling conflict remains as a result of Roach's commitment to the promotional tour for the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Nov. 12.

Roach is locked in for the four-city tour of news conferences for Pacquiao-Marquez, which begins on Sept. 3 and ends "about a week prior to Chavez's fight against Hearns," according to Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc.

The Pacquiao-Marquez tour ends in Marquez's native Mexico City on the weekend of Sept. 10, which would allow Roach some time with Chavez if he were to stay in Mexico City. However, that would mean Roach would spend less than two months training Pacquiao full time for Marquez.

"Bob [Arum] told Chavez about 200 times that he should cancel the fight," said Roach, who has worked with Chavez for his past three bouts, as has strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.

"I have the press tour, and then when that ends, I have to go straight to the Philippines to start training Manny," Roach said. "So as far as that [Chavez's fight] goes, I don't know if I have any expectations at this point as far as being there."

Chavez is said to be fighting Hearns in honor of his father and former three-division titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., whose "government of Culiacan has asked Chavez Jr. to do the fight in effect, paying for the fight, and they're dedicating a building to Julio Jr.'s father," said Arum.

Roach already is headed this weekend for Donetesk, Ukraine, where he will train WBA welterweight titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko for a defense against Marco Antonio Avendaño on Aug. 26.

"Alex [Ariza] will be there working with Chavez and so forth," said Roach. "But he's had a struggle to get his weight down, and that's not a good thing before this type of fight."

Roach wants to have at least two solid months of training with Pacquiao for Marquez, but at this rate, he might be working with less time than that.

"They're talking about me being in the Philippines on Sept. 12 or 13, somewhere in that area," said Roach. "I mean, my schedule is so full right now that I might not be there for the Chavez fight."


Known for his stern questioning techniques, Showtime's Jim Gray didn't pull any punches during Saturday night's post-fight interview with referee Russell Mora, who failed to penalize Abner Mares for repeated low blows during his majority-decision victory over Joseph Agbeko.

"My responsibility is to Showtime, but I'm thinking about the fans," said Gray. "So that means that I'm watching the fight as a fan, and I'm thinking, 'What's going on here?'"

Gray grilled Mora in the ring while they watched a replay of a hard low blow that sent Agbeko to his hands and knees in the 11th round, after which Mora inexplicably ruled a knock down.

"I wasn't malicious or mean-spirited and didn't accuse him of being incompetent. I simply asked him direct questions related to what was in front of him," said Gray.

"You have to be accountable for your actions, and in this instance, I was just asking him to be accountable. Do I feel that I did the right thing? Absolutely."

The loss cost Agbeko his bantamweight title, but the IBF has ordered an immediate rematch because of the controversy surrounding the illegal punches.


Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said the target months for a bout between WBO junior lightweight titleholder Ricky Burns of Scotland and unbeaten mandatory challenger Adrien Broner of Cincinnati are either November or December.

Broner (21-0, 17 knockouts) is coming off consecutive HBO appearances in which he out-pointed former titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon in March and scored a first-round knockout of Jason Litzau in June.

Burns (39-2, 9 KOs) has won 17 straight fights since losing a decision to Carl Johanneson in 2007 and has made three title defenses since rising from a first-round knockdown to beat Roman Martinez and claim the vacant belt in September.


Finnish heavyweight Robert Helenius (15-0, 10 KOs) will face Sergei Liakhovich (25-3, 16 KOs) of Belarus on Aug. 27 in Erfurt, Germany on EPIX cable network.

Helenius, who lives in Germany, stopped Samuel Peter in the ninth round in April, his most-recent fight.

"Helenius is a good fighter. He does certain things in the ring very well, but my job is to take that away from him," said Liakhovich, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. "I will beat him at what he does badly and will take away what he does well.

"Fans are going to see a high quality level of boxing and fighting from me."


Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]