He is the sage of this era, the Cus D'Amato, the Eddie Fitch, the Angelo Dundee of his time. When Freddie Roach talks, attention is paid.
Roach talked to the Boxing Channel's Marcos Villegas a couple days ago, and weighed in with his thoughts on the matchup between his fighter, young Amir Khan (25-1 with 17 KOs), who seeks to cement a place for himself in the pound for pound top ten and move a step closer to a megafight, and the born-again badboy from Brooklyn turned mature family man, Zab Judah.
One thing he said resonated particularly with me, and aligns with how I see this fight playing out.
"It's very hard to teach an old dog new tricks," Roach said, after noting that he did indeed see improvement in Judah in his first fight with new trainer Pernell Whitaker, in March. Judah (41-6 with 28 KOs) scored a TKO win over Kaizer Mabuza with a sweet cracker of a counterpunch, a left hand unleashed by Judah when he was "trapped" in a corner. That blow left Mabuza woozy, and Judah smelled and saw blood, and finished the show with a pile of punches. "I think my guy is the faster, stronger, bigger guy. We'll keep him on the end of our jab and overwhelm him with our speed and power. I don't think he really fancies getting hit like a younger fighter might."
Roach does know that Judah has a strong left hand, which he unleashes in a crafty fashion, and the trainer says he thinks Khan can handle Judah's power. Roach says that eight weeks in training in LA for Khan has left the Brit in top form. "Everything's right where it needs to be," he said.
Roach was asked if Amir might go to 147. "I think Amir has a better shot at getting Mayweather than Manny does, because I think he's scared of Manny, and he might choose Amir next," the trainer says.
Can he beat Floyd? "Yes...he has the right style...not an easy task, I think Victor Ortiz has a shot also... Floyd might be an ass but he can fight."
Readers, feel free to speculate in the Forum on what a Mayweather-Khan might look like...
Check out the whole video, and the other solid material, on the Boxing Channel here http://www.boxingchannel.tv/freddie-roach-promises-a-dominant-performance-from-khan-and-predicts-that-his-fighter-will-be-too-much-for-judah