News Worthy

The Star Wars (Vol III): Roach Spray


(Los Angeles) He’s built for a can of Raid. Hailing from Boston, boxing’s Boondock Saint of a trainer isn’t “Fah” from an authentic Beantown persona in this do-or-die section of Hollywood. He’ll have you scattering like a brown critter when the lights come on if you’re fake and don’t have balls.

Let’s call this killer ink-stinct– but I’m not concerned about a boss sit down as a stand-up guy. Freddie Roach can spot the difference in a guy who covered hockey on a Tuesday and got assigned to his world famous gym via appointment on Thursday.

I don’t have one. Fuck it.

On the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Vine, I meet up with local badass Rabbit and interrupt his varied hustle. After putting clouds in the air, we salute his brother Noah (killed via drowning) by rocking a John Travolta/Samuel A. Jackson “Pulp Fiction” style pose for a shot in front of the neighborhood’s iconic Wild Card Gym.


I can hear jumbled fight chatter and feel the hum of the speed bag and thunderous heavy bag strikes from the world famous gym on the street while processing an underdressed woman with a bootleg pocketbook over her shoulder, singing nicely and provocatively hosing herself with water.

A bald, 70’s era looking former fighter at maybe 150lbs is an initial gatekeeper and studies my eyes. I tell him I’m there to see Freddie. “Go around the back, he’s right upstairs if you can get to him,” says the cool OG.

And he is. I’ve written countless articles on Manny Pacquiao over the past few years for and NY Fights, but that doesn’t give me a pass from PR/tight security protocol in a sea of warriors. Freddie’s trained eye does that.

“So lemme guess, Felix Diaz is to Terence Crawford what JCCJr was to Canelo? I mean, what’s the end game for Manny?”I fire at Roach, just 2 days prior to Crawford’s systematic 10th round mugging of a game Diaz.

“I mean, ‘The End’ I guess… His way,” sprayed Roach. “I know what Manny can do- and still do. He’s gotta show me. Every time I said he’d knock out this guy or that guy, it’s because I know my fighter. Crawford is a big welterweight for Manny and we would have trouble there. But Manny’s smarter now, too. I love a fight with Mikey Garcia. That’s a fuckin fight I want to see for Manny. Mikey’s style would give us the fight [you] want to see.”

Freddie’s long time head of security, Rob, takes a photograph of us for this feature. He has a long trip ahead of him for the Philippines to round Pacquiao into “Pac-Man” for Australia’s wildly popular slugger Jeff Horn on July 2, and I want to let him get back to business. But not before one more question.

“Doesn’t [Manny] need to stop Horn, Freddie? You always said you’d tell him ‘when’. Would that be it if he doesn’t do it?”

The grizzled legend pondered for a moment, before answering with an ultimative tone. “He better… I need to see it.”

*** *** *** *** ***

*Fites: Pacquiao V Crawford/ Brook V Spence

The mind replays what the heart cannot delete. Something has to be unplugged- or cut out. This is really true when love attempts to defy all reason. Pacquiao’s love for boxing now exceeds his physical ability (which is still very world class).

It’s just no longer special, as Crawford’s is now; and if you don’t think the stocky, southpaw Olympic gold medalist Diaz wasn’t a Pacquiao test, you’re probably as clueless as a Donald Trump White House staffer as to his thoughts. But Diaz isn’t Pacquiao, and no version of Pacquiao can I imagine stopped late by a still unproven welterweight in Crawford.

I’ll leave it there, until after I see the Horn fight. But I did reach my fellow NY Fights scribbler from Scotland, Colin Morrison, for his take on Pac/Bud:

“Pacquiao would have his moments in the fight, of course, but Crawford would gradually take control of proceedings and win by late stoppage. He’s in his prime, moves well, boxes superbly out of either stance and looks to have solid punch resistance. I just don’t see a way that Manny could beat Crawford at this stage of their careers. He’d give it a go for sure, [but] I would expect to see an action fight that would be dominated more and more by the younger, more powerful man as it progresses leading to the late stoppage.”

Fair enough. I’m still waiting to see what Manny does in Australia.

Brook V Spence

“People forget I had [Spence] as an amateur when he was full of raw potential. The Brook fight will make him an even better fighter.”

Freddie Roach, who expects Spence to begin a new reign of terror by KO’ing Kell Brook


I expect a difficult fight for Spence and a baptism by fire. I still can’t get over Brook calling Spence a “Brownie”. I figure if you’re confident enough to call another man something pertaining to fudge, well, you believe in yourself. Brook is what we call in Urban America, “nice”. He is a very strong and nuanced IBF welterweight champion in a way the uber-aggressive Jermell Charlo (Spence’s primary sparring partner and a great fighter in the making) is not.

I think it’s a welterweight Joshua/Klitschko of sorts, where Spence will have to go to an untapped section of his toolbox to nail Brook late and get him out of there. But it won’t be easy in the UK. I’ll go Spence via TKO 11.

Colin also weighed in on this star war near him, and I can very much understand this alternate ending:

“I am going to say Brook by a narrow (possibly controversial) points decision. I also think that both men may be down in the fight. It wouldn’t surprise me if Spence won– as he does look to be the business, but at this stage, I just think Brook with his experience will edge it.

How will [Brook] be after coming back down from 160? Did the Golovkin fight ruin him? How will his eye socket hold up once he starts taking shots? We won’t know for sure until the fight starts and it may be a stretch for some to assume that at least one of these issues won’t have a bearing on the fight. But we’ll see two excellent welterweights giving us a tremendous contest in a great atmosphere and football (soccer) stadium. I’ll take Brook to edge it on the cards.”

I’m spraying that with Raid.



About John Gatling

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