Try as he might to inject some life into that LA presser, Freddie Roach was unable to transform the last-Wednesday hype fest into much of anything beyond a respectful dog and pony show.
“Manny asked me to be nice,” Roach admitted to me in a Tuesday phoner, after updating me on day one of sparring. “But it was so boring, I had to say something.”
Bless his soul, someone had to. Promoter Bob Arum provided some levity and Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza a hint of edge, thankfully; but it was Roach who promised his guy would dole out an arse whupping. “I thought I’d get some response back,” ‘Dedham’ Freddie revealed. “But Floyd gave a boring speech, and his dad wasn’t allowed to speak. For sure, I thought his dad would say something. I tried to get a little action going!”
Roach was fairly disgusted with the presence of Floyd bestie Justin Bieber, he told me. “What tough guys hang with Justin Bieber?” he asked with a rhetorical flourish of disgust.
Speaking of talking, Freddie is trying to get Manny into ready-for-trash-talk mode in sparring, because Floyd will yap during a fight. So Roach is instructing guys in camp to yap a bit, don’t be afraid, and not to be afraid to turn it up a notch when Manny instructs them to uncork. There won’t be many witnesses to what is going on in the Wild Card, with Roach tossing everyone out, save for about five circle of trust folks. “It’s the best we’ve ever had” in terms of a professional, chaos free atmosphere, he reported.
Roach sounds like he has Floyd’s mannerisms down pat, after poring over tape hour after hour. “I know his traps. We won’t fall for it, I promise.”
Roach, in fact, questions Floyd’s fire for this tangle, based on his mellow manner in the last few weeks. “Show some (cajones),” the trainer challenged. “Say something at the next press conference! I mean, I love this fight!”
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