Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Freddie Roach is still (Thanks)giving lessons on Thursday


He’s a working man, loath to take time off, most comfortable and at ease in his favored milieu, the boxing ring.

Freddie Roach and his world famous Wild Card Boxing Club will be open tomorrow, Thanksgiving, but he will make a concession to the holiday.

“Dedham Freddie” will close the upstairs half, which makes sense, as most of his staff and the typical gym-goers will be busy over-indulging in offerings baked, breaded, fried, stuffed and basted. He will actually do somewhat the same, he told me, but without pants-busting intake and at a restaurant, and only after training with some of his clients, who have matches coming up in the near future.

“Yeah, I’m going to a restaurant,” said the Massachusetts native, tutor to Manny Pacquiao, “because I can’t cook! And my family is all out here. I have work to do with my fighters, who have fights coming up.”

This means guys like IBF/WBC cruiserweight Denis Lebedev, lacing up Dec. 3 in Moscow against Murat Gassiev – in possibly a “Fight of the Year” candidate – don’t so much need to be waylaid by turkey time, by a holiday breaking training.

Roach has a solid roster of tanglers, with Jose Ramirez and Jesus Cuellar, among others, soon to set foot in a ring for sizable stakes.

No client, but of course, is as notable as The Senator, Manny Pacquiao, who looked like he hasn’t lost much off his fastball when he downed Jessie Vargas last month for the WBO welterweight title. I asked Roach who he’d like “Pacman” to face next within the prizefight realm. Who’s ideally next on Manny’s menu?

“I think (THE RING magazine middleweight champion/WBO junior middleweight titlist) Canelo Alvarez is the best option out there,” Roach said. “I think its an exciting fight, probably at a catchweight, definitely maybe the biggest fight in boxing to be made.”

And we’ve heard chatter about Vasyl Lomachenko as a potential next challenge for Manny, if “Loma” bests former WBA featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters on Saturday. Thoughts? “Manny can make 140 easily,” Roach said, “and we hear some say they’d want it at 135, we’d see. That’s possible. Lomachenko is a good young fighter and Manny still wants to fight the best. And if that wasn’t possible, then we’d have him retire.”

Readers, what say you? Think Canelo versus Manny could be made? Freddie has talked about it for many moons, as far back as 2013, I think. Might’nt the Mexican be too big for Pacman? And wouldn’t Loma versus Manny be enticing, two masters of getting angles, playing chess with their feet, getting position to throw?



That Freddie Roach is a better man than we are. Think Michael Woods and editor Coyote Duran are training anyone on Turkey Thursday? No way, pally. We’re sucking down turkey and dressing and cranberries and beers (soda for the Woodsy) and you’d better bet your butts that structure, punctuation and syntax are taking a tryptophan-enduced nap until Friday…well, maybe. We really like working this gig.



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Ring Magazine Dec 2016

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