Freddie Roach only sees two more fights for Manny Pacquiao before retiring (again)

By Leighton Ginn

Long-time trainer Freddie Roach said he only sees two more fights for his superstar, Manny Pacquiao before the Filipino senator walks away from boxing for good.

Pacquiao (58-6-2) returns to the ring for the first time since becoming a senator in May, facing WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas (27-1) on Nov. 5 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

In April, Pacquiao defeated Timothy Bradley in what Roach said was his best performance in ages. It was the third time Pacquiao had faced Bradley and the first time he knocked down the Desert Storm, doing it twice to earn a unanimous decision.

Although Pacquiao has had a compromised training schedule as he is juggling his busy senatorial duties, Roach said he feels confident going into the Vargas fight.

Beyond that fight, Roach doesn’t see the 37-year-old Pacquiao fighting more than one more time if he can secure a big-money fight.

The two names Roach said he’d like Pacquiao to take on are Canelo Alvarez and a rematch with the retired Floyd Mayweather.

“Get one of those big fights, fight that fight, and that’s it,” Roach said. “That’s my wishes.”

Roach said that scenario is dependent on how Pacquiao looks against Vargas. Win or lose, if Pacquiao looks bad, Roach said he might tell Pacquiao to hang it up.

“If he doesn’t slip, I still only want him to only have two more fights,” Roach said. “There’s nothing else he has to prove in boxing, in my mind.”

While Roach would like to see Pacquiao, who is a small fighter at the 147-pound welterweight division, take on super welterweight (154 pounds) champion Alvarez, promoter Bob Arum doesn’t like the matchup.

Arum said Pacquiao was sparring Ray Beltran, who fights at 135-pounds, and he was the bigger fighter.

Alvarez is the current box office king in boxing. While a Pacquiao-Alvarez fight would pit two big names, most fans have been clamoring for Alvarez to face Gennady Golovkin.

As far as Arum is concerned, he feels a fight between Pacquiao and super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.

“I would pay any amount of money to see Manny Pacquiao fight Lomachenko,” Arum said. “That for me would be a great, great, great fight.

“For me, I like guys who are almost like ballet dancers in the ring. Lomachenko is that, and so is Manny.”

Both Lomachenko and Crawford are promoted by Arum’s Top Rank.

One other fighter who has been discussed for Pacquiao is Adrien Broner. Arum said there had been negotiations, but fell apart because of Broner’s demands.

“Broner is out of his freakin’ mind,” Arum said. “We offered him a really good purse. We were maybe $100,000 apart. Broner then asked for 50 percent more than the purse we were talking about, which made it outlandish.

“Broner, there’s something mentally wrong with him.”

 

NOTE: Linda Ha contributed to this report.

 

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Bob Arum blasts Don King for his endorsement of Donald Trump

By Leighton Ginn

HOLLYWOOD — Bob Arum has made it clear his distaste for Donald Trump, and he didn’t mince words long-time rival boxing promoter Don King, who has endorsed the GOP presidential candidate.

“He’s a traitor to his people,” Arum said on Oct. 26 during Manny Pacquiao’s Hollywood workout. “How can you back a bigot like Trump? And I tell you, Don King disgraced himself by being for Trump. And any of you people here who even think about voting for Trump should be ashamed of yourself.”

Arum has been a strong support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Special correspondent Linda Ha reported on this story

How Timothy Bradley’s life intersected with 1968 Olympians George Foreman and John Carlos

Tim at weigh in 2014 Pacquiao

 

 

By Leighton Ginn

George Foreman said he has been impressed with the career of WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, comparing him to legend Jersey Joe Walcott, and thought he was a boxer who came out of nowhere.

But Foreman didn’t realize that he had actually met Bradley early in his career.

In 2005, Foreman had flown out to California to do a favor for his 1968 U.S. Olympic teammate, sprinter John Carlos, who was a counselor at Palm Springs High School. During an event, Carlos had asked Foreman to take time out to talk to his friend Ray’s son, who happened to be Bradley.

When told of that event, Foreman remembered talking to Carlos’ friend who was a boxer. He just never realized it was Bradley. 

“That’s who that was?” Foreman said during a telephone interview. “I didn’t realize that was Timothy Bradley at all.

“What a small world. Man alive.”

Mexico 1968 OG, Boxing, +81kg (heavyweight) Men - George FOREMAN (USA) 1st.

Photo courtesy of the International Olympic Committee and U.S. Olympic Committee.

 

It is the friendship between Carlos and Ray Bradley that made the meeting possible for Tim Bradley and memorable for Foreman.

Back in 1968, Foreman was just a 19-year-old boxer with a lot of talent but little experience. Carlos was a world record holder in the 200 meters and one of the biggest personalities on the U.S team.  He was also a man Foreman looked up to.

Once the Olympics began, both athletes were busy preparing for their events and wouldn’t have time to catch up. They made a deal they would meet a few days after the Olympics to share their experiences.

“It was the day after the Olympics we were going to meet and go over what happened in our lives,” Foreman said.

“We didn’t get to actually sit and chat.”

John Carlos and George Foreman: Contrasting images, lasting friendship

Carlos won a bronze medal in the 200 while U.S. teammate Tommie Smith won the gold. At the awards stand, Smith and Carlos bowed their heads and raised their gloved fists during the national anthem to protest the lack of civil rights for people of color.

John Carlos and Tommie Smith

Photo courtesy of John Carlos and his website JohnCarlos68.com

Afterwards, Carlos and Smith were ostracized and thrown out of the Olympic Village. Both were booked on the next flight back to America.

Days later, Foreman would win his gold medal as a boxing heavyweight. Immediately winning the gold medal, Foreman would pull out a small American flag that he would wave in celebration.

For many, Foreman’s celebration was interpreted as a response to Carlos and Smith’s protest. Foreman said that wasn’t the case.

Foreman said his flag waving was not a statement to contrast what Carlos and Smith had done. As a 19-year-old, Foreman had fulfilled a dream and he wanted to celebrate and show his patriotism. 

“There I am, winning a gold medal, and I got to make sure everyone knew where I’m from,” Foreman said “In my ignorance, if I don’t raise this flag, they wouldn’t know where I’m from.”

Because the perception was Foreman was protesting Smith and Carlos, he encountered his own backlash. It became evident when he returned home to Houston.

“I’m a happy boy and I’m wearing my gold medal everywhere, the grocery store, everywhere. I didn’t take it off,” Foreman said. “One guy comes to me, and he was a neighbor for years and I knew him. He said, ‘How could you do what you did when the brothers were doing their thing?’ I didn’t understand what he was talking about, I really didn’t understand.

“Later on, I heard more about it and what the media was saying about it. I got a little mean about it and no one said anything about it again. I was waiting for it with a left-right. I wasn’t going to hear anything like that.”

I got a little mean about it and no one said anything about it again. I was waiting for it with a left-right. I wasn’t going to hear anything like that.” George Foreman

 The backlash would form Foreman’s surly and intimidating persona when he turned pro.

Foreman would ascend to the heavyweight boxing title and forged a legendary career, beating Joe Frazier for the title, losing the title to Muhammad Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle and the Rope a Dope strategy.

In his second part of his career, the kinder and gentler Foreman become the oldest heavyweight champion at 47 when he knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994.

Outside of the ring, Foreman became one of the country’s most successful businessman with his Foreman Grill.

Carlos faced his own backlash.  He regularly received death threats and was constantly followed by the FBI. In his book, “The John Carlos Story,” he said the harassment and constant surveillance put a strain on his family life that he separated from his first wife Kim.

The lowest point, according to Carlos in his book, was a moment he was so lonely from the isolation that he asked the agent who was following him if he would like to share a cup of coffee one night.  

By 1989, at the urging of his kids during a detour on a road trip, Carlos had moved to Palm Springs, Calif. What was supposed to be a short stopover became his home for over 20 years. Carlos raised his kids and worked for the Palm Springs Unified School District as an in-school suspension supervisor and a coach.

It was through his job he forged a friendship with Ray Bradley, who was a security guard for the district.

“Ray was always a true grit-type of guy,” Carlos said. “What I like about Ray, he’s a man’s man. He’s a damn good father to his kids, he’s good to his woman. He has loyalty to his staff, loyalty to his job, loyal to his wife and kids and loyal to his friends. It was a rare quality at that time. It might still be a rare quality today.”

Ray Bradley said he was 5-years old when Carlos made his protest. When he saw it on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Ray Bradley said he didn’t understand the protest because he was so young, but developed an appreciation as he got older.

“That was a very powerful statement Mr. Carlos made in Mexico City,” Ray Bradley said. “Growing up at a young age I didn’t know what was going on. I saw a lot of racial tension and we just wanted equal.”

It was during those hot, lazy days in the Palm Springs desert when Carlos would share his experience of what happened after Mexico City.  

“The stories he tells me, I go, ‘I don’t know how you are still here,’” Ray Bradley said. “Everyone wanted to hurt you for making a statement like that. He told me there was death threats, getting banned from the Olympics, kicked him out and sent him home.

“Then he goes, ‘They killed my first wife.’ Oh, that’s some heavy stuff.”

Carlos’ first wife Kim had committed suicide in 1977.

 

Feared and respected

 

There is a legend of Carlos that still stands today, Ray Bradley said.  

Carlos had caught two kids ditching. When Carlos found them, they made a run for it, figuring they had several years on this middle-aged teacher and a few blocks head start. The student didn’t realize he was once one of the fastest men on the planet.

“He said, ‘Mr. Carlos ran me down. I had blocks on him and he smoked me. I thought it was a ghost,’” Ray Bradley remembered from the student. “He still had speed. As a mid-aged person, he still had speed.”

 The kid asked who was the old man who ran him down. Carlos told the kid that if he was in class instead of ditching, he might learn who he was.

The kid would find Carlos in a history book.

But a young Timothy Bradley knows Carlos as a family friend.

He was a friend until Bradley got in trouble one day.

Mouthing off in class, Bradley was sent to Carlos by his teacher.

Bradley said he was scared.

“John Carlos didn’t pull any punches. He told you like it was. Don’t nobody want to hear the truth,” Bradley said. “That’s the reason why I was scared, I was scared about what he had to say.”

When Bradley walked into Carlos’ classroom, he said what he feared came true.

 “I walked in, ‘What are you doing in here young blood? What are you doing in here? You don’t belong in here. Sit down. Get a magazine and write me an essay,’” Bradley remembered. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what am I doing in here?’ He was loud, he didn’t care if he hurt my feelings. He was real, and it was felt.”

At first, Carlos gave a different version of the incident.

“He was a pretty reserved kid,” Carlos said in a telephone conversation from his home in Georgia. “That wasn’t his style. My thing was to cheer him up, pick him up and make him feel good about who he is.”

When Carlos was told Bradley said he was yelled at and felt intimidated, Carlos quickly replied, “I scare them all when they first come in my room because I don’t want them coming back. That’s my stamp there.”

Bradley’s father was well aware of Carlos’ reputation. So when Tim returned home and told his dad about what happened, there was no further punishment.

“He already had his punishment. John Carlos jumped down his throat,” Ray Bradley said. “I didn’t have to do anything but give him that eye. ‘Do something again, I’m going to put something on you. I might have to go to jail, so don’t do it again.’”

Tim Bradley said he didn’t get in trouble again.

“He already had his punishment. John Carlos jumped down his throat.” Ray Bradley

Carlos said he would see Ray in the weight room, and was mesmerized by how hard he worked. It was as if he was bonding with the weights.  

 “I think he transferred that work ethic to his son when he was a baby and embedded this in them. Never say quit, never say die,” Carlos said. “It was a commitment all around. You truly had to be committed. When you see the momma and daddy get up early with their boy at 5 a.m. and have him training, they must have had a goal in mind. They had a program to reach that goal.”

And through the years, Carlos said he would see that same kind of commitment from Bradley.

“His work ethic is the same today as it was as a kid, because he would get up and run all over the desert. I used to see him out there on the road and I’d just be smiling,” Carlos said. “When I would see him now, I would picture a little boy running in the morning. He never went away from the foundation his parents gave him.

“You could see his determination when he fights people. He fights guys taller than him, heavier then him and he goes through them like they’re a piece of cardboard.”

For more on John Carlos, go to his website

So when Carlos was contacted by Foreman in 2005, it was the first time they had spoken since the 1968 Olympics. In Carlos’ mind, he wanted Foreman to meet Tim.  

Palm Springs High School was planning an event for Black History Month. Carlos asked Foreman if he could show up. Because it was a last-minute request, Foreman chartered a private jet to make sure he could fulfill the request.

“He said, he’s coming, He’s coming, so bring your son. I want him to meet him because he’s a great man, a great person. Whatever he can tell him, he could use it. Your son will be big one day. He needs to hear from Big George,” Ray Bradley said.

DSCN0686

 

When Foreman arrived, he was busy meeting people all day before his speech. But Carlos made sure the Bradleys were backstage, so when Foreman was through talking, they could meet.

“Meeting him, it’s how a champion should be. He was very charismatic,” Tim Bradley said. “It was an honor to actually meet him, especially early in my career. It gave me someone to look up to, someone to be like. It showed me how a top former fighter from a different generation or era was and how he carried himself.”

While the day was a whirlwind for Foreman, he said meeting the Bradleys stuck out because Carlos made them a priority. And then what Foreman saw also stuck with him, and that was Tim with Ray and his mom Kathleen.

“You meet a lot of boxers, and they come up with their trainer or manager or promoter. Very rarely do they come with their family,” Foreman said. “It makes them different, that they have people who love and care for him.

“That’s what I remember, he had people who loved and cared for him. That’s why I poured out the information.”

 

New Timothy Bradley will be unveiled against Brandon Rios

DSCN0668DSCN0500

One thing that has already come out of the newly minted Timothy Bradley and Teddy Atlas partnership has been an array of colorful metaphors.

Bradley, the WBO welterweight champion, hired Atlas to help with his defense so he will not take as many devastating blows like he has in recent fights. Bradley has promised he will be a “smart monster,” where he will be more cautious without losing his aggression.

Atlas, the longtime trainer who has been solely a successful broadcaster that last few years, said one of the main goals will be to eliminate “mortal sins,” or the mistakes that has resulted in Bradley getting hit with big shots.

Being a smart monster and avoiding mortal sins will be crucial tonight when Bradley defends his title against Brandon Rios, an aggressive fighter who Atlas says begins coming forward during the national anthem.

Throughout the years, Bradley has established himself as one of the sports best fighters, demonstrating a tough chin, relentless determination and athleticisms that fuels his versatility. But he’s been proving he has a tough chin too often for his own comfort.

In 2013, Bradley sustained a concussion in the first round and was knocked down again in the 12th round before scoring a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. In December, 2014, Bradley’s face was mutilated in a draw against Diego Chaves. In Bradley’s last fight, he got caught with a big right that wobbled him in the final minute against Jessie Vargas before scoring another unanimous decision.

But working with Bradley will be more tinkering, not an overhaul. Bradley returns to the Thomas and Mack, where he had his signature victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013. Marquez was fresh off his devastating knockout of Manny Pacquiao at the end of 2012 that left the Filipino superstar out cold and face down on the canvas for nearly two minutes.

Bradley controlled the fight, avoided danger and won a convincing majority decision.

But even before the Marquez fight, Bradley had been an elusive boxer. Against future world champions Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson, Bradley outclassed each. In the first of two fights against Manny Pacquiao, Bradley was able to avoid big danger against one of the sports biggest punchers.

Since the Provodnikov fight, Bradley has engaged more and gotten hurt more. The aggressive style has Rios believing that Bradley will re-engage in his brawling style when he either gets hit or challenged.

We’ll find out Nov. 7.

The woman who convinced Teddy Atlas to return to training finally meets Timothy Bradley in person

DSCN0786 DSCN0751

One person who was crucial in getting Teddy Atlas to return to boxing to train WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley had never met the Desert Storm until this week.

When Bradley approached Atlas, he initially said he wasn’t interested in training again. That was until Atlas spoke to his daughter Nicole, who has a knack for convincing people as a successful lawyer.

“My daughter told me, ‘As great a broadcaster as you are, you’re a teacher. That’s your calling, that’s your essence,” Atlas said, recalling how his daughter convinced him to get back into boxing. “It would be a shame not to allow yourself to teach anymore.”

In convincing her father to return, Nicole had never met Bradley or his team in person until she arrived in Las Vegas with her mother and brother. Bradley will defend his WBO belt against the rough and rugged Brandon Rios on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Thomas & Mack. HBO will telecast the fight card starting at 6:30 p.m., PST.

Throughout the seven-week training camp, Atlas has constantly been keeping Nicole and the family posted. And Nicole said the affect has been positive on her dad.

“We talk to him every day and he’s on a good schedule, he gets up, he’s at the gym, and he’s been getting in shape with Tim,” Nicole said. “He’s been taking off the weight like Tim has, he goes to the gym. He updates us on how sparring’s gone, how he’s doing. It’s all been positive. He’s enjoying it.”

Atlas was co-hosting his radio show on Sirius XM when he had Bradley as a guest.  It was days after Bradley had regained the vacant WBO welterweight title after beating Jessie Vargas.

Despite dominating the fight, Bradley was caught with a big right in the final minute that left him wobbly.

Bradley was a phone-in guest for “Going the Distance,” which Atlas hosts with Wally Matthews and Nabate Isles.

Atlas asked Bradley “why did you get hit,” with a follow up, “do you know why you got hit.”

Bradley didn’t have an answer for why he got hit, so Atlas began to break it down. His co-hosts just went silent and listened to the interaction.

“I couldn’t help myself. It just happened in the middle of the interview,” Atlas said. “The teaching part came out and being a teacher is helping someone who needs help.”

“I forgot I was on the radio. I became a teacher,” Atlas said. “My daughter was right.”

But Atlas didn’t think it was anything more than an interview. His co-host had different thoughts.

“We went to a commercial (after the interview) and Wally said, ‘He’s going to call you to train him,’” Atlas said. “I said, ‘No he’s not, because I’m not training anyone.’ I wasn’t thinking in those terms. He said, ‘you mark my words, he’s going to call you to train him.’”

It wasn’t long after when Bradley did call Atlas, but he wasn’t interested initially. During that time, Bradley decided to part ways with Joel Diaz, who had trained him his entire professional career.

But it was talking to Nicole that changed his mind. Another thing that convinced Atlas to return to training was getting to know Bradley. Atlas liked Bradley’s character and was comfortable with his family.

Nicole said she’s even noticed a change.

“It’s different when he’s doing the commentating, he’s just preparing to call the fight. With this, he’s putting more of his heart into it,” Nicole said. “There’s always worry because he wants to make sure he’s doing everything right. And there’s also the confidence he’s done everything right. Now we’re here for the fight and everything he needed to do is done.”

During the weigh in, Nicole was with her mother Elaine and brother Teddy III were sitting in the back row and passing out “Desert Storm” black t-shirts to their other family and friends who joined them from the East Coast.

“It’s exciting. Definitely, we’re excited, but at the same time, nervous,” Nicole said. “It’s been a few years since we’ve had to worry and care who wins the fight. Normally, we watch all the fights. It doesn’t matter who wins or lose. We just watch it for the entertainment. It’s exciting.

Brandon Rios worried he was getting brushed aside prior to Timothy Bradley fight

Brandon Rios answers questions following his media workout on Oct. 27 in Riverside, Calif. Rios is preparing to take on Timothy Bradley on Nov. 7 at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas.

Brandon Rios answers questions following his media workout on Oct. 27 in Riverside, Calif. Rios is preparing to take on Timothy Bradley on Nov. 7 at the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas.

In January, Brandon Rios punctuated the final chapter of his trilogy against Mike Alvarado with a third-round knockout. But following the fight, something unexpected happen for Rios.

No one came calling.

A popular fighter for his action style, no one wanted to fight Rios. As months passed by, Rios got irritated.

“Come on man, it’s like they were forgetting about me, little-by-little,” Rios said. “I don’t like that. I know I got a lot of gas in my tank. I’m ready to get back to the top and show everyone I’m ready,

“It’s just like the Alvarado fight. It was a do-or-die fight for me. If Alvarado would have beat me, my career would have been done.  I made the best out of it. I’m making the best of everything now. I’m more focused, I’m more determined to get to the top.”

It was after the first fight against Alvarado when Rios’ career his a rough patch. Rios lost the rematch against Alvarado, and then was dominated in the biggest fight of his career, losing a unanimous decision to Manny Pacquiao.

“Pacquiao didn’t bring the best out of me, everyone knows that,” Rios said. “I got cocky, I got stupid. I was young, making a lot of money, and I was just dumb in that fight.”