Mikey Williams/Top Rank
FREDDIE ROACH has declared that he “badly wants to beat” Teddy Atlas when the trainers’ respective fighters, Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, go head to head in Las Vegas this Saturday (April 9). This comment comes in stark contrast to Atlas, who has gone on record stating that his rivalry with Roach “is not important” in the context of the bout.
Roach also questioned the effectiveness of Atlas’ emotive and impassioned cornerwork, such as his motivational ‘firemen speech’ during Bradley’s clash with Brandon Rios in November.
“[Atlas and Bradley] seem to get along very well, but all that bulls*** about firemen and stuff is not going to get you ready for a fight, so I hope they’ve prepared tactically,” Freddie opined. “I know we’re going to hear another story or two on Saturday night. Is it entertaining? Yes. Does it help the fighter? I really don’t think it does. Stories about firemen don’t help the fighter.”
Roach was reluctant to afford either Bradley or Atlas any credit for the former’s victory over Rios, because in Freddie’s opinion, Brandon was severely underprepared for the match-up in a fitness sense.
Roach said: “Look at the shape Rios was in against Bradley, compared to how he was when he fought Manny. I never expected Rios to come into a fight like he did against Bradley, with his belly hanging over his shorts. He was so out of shape in that fight. You can’t give Bradley or Teddy credit for that win, because they had nothing in front of them.”
As well as Rios, another common opponent that Pacquiao and Bradley share is Juan Manuel Marquez. Despite the fact that Bradley defeated Marquez just 10 months after the latter had vanquished Pacquiao, Roach believes that “JMM” represents a more difficult night’s work than Timothy.
“Marquez is a tougher challenge than Bradley,” Freddie asserted. “He’s a smarter fighter and more intelligent counter-puncher. He’s a difficult fighter to adjust to. Bradley’s a very durable and tough guy. He has a lot of heart, and he’s proven that more than once, but he’s not a power-puncher at all, plus he’s a little bit slow of foot. He’s never once hurt Manny over the course of their two previous fights.”
With the Pacquiao-Bradley rubber match just two days away, Roach is anticipating a similar fight to the first two encounters in terms of style, although he hopes the outcome will be more conclusive in favour of Manny this time around.
“The fight will probably be like the first two,” said Roach. “They’ll box each other a little bit and feel each other out at the beginning. We want to start a little bit quicker than usual this time, and we want to win more decisively. We don’t want to make it a close fight at all.”