There are many stages that must play out before a fighter ever laces up his/her gloves and makes their career-defining ring entrance.
The contract negotiations, the media blitz, training camp, the weigh-in, the fighter meetings, etc. During that time, both fighters and their respective camps do their best to jostle for superiority.
To win the fight before the fight, I’m referring of course to the foregoing mental game that determines a lot of what will happen after the opening bell.
Many boxing experts have said it, “Boxing is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical.”
While some folks may argue the exact weight to place in the mental category, I think we can all agree the mental state plays an enormous part in the production of a fighter.
No one understands that better than the four-time B.W.A.A. Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach.
Over the past few years, Roach has become a megaphone of criticism regarding the opponents to face his prize protégé Manny Pacquiao.
Some say it's arrogance.
Some say he’s a crazy, bitter man. Bitter because of his degenerative illness—Parkinson’s Disease
I say Roach knows the game, evidenced by his accurate fight predictions and un-refuted success developing fighters in his stable.
Roach’s substantial career as a trainer is fraught with champions. He has trained boxing champions Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, James Toney, Wladimir Klitschko, Amir Khan, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Bernard Hopkins and of course, Manny Pacquiao.
His reputation has earned him the opportunity to work with UFC Champions B.J. Penn, Anderson Silva, Tito Ortiz and Georges St-Pierre as well.
It’s this experience gained over a 26-year span that has given him the ability to see flaws and weakness where others do not.
It’s the perception of this ability he uses most in the mental fight, most recently in HBO’s Pacquiao and Margarito Face Off with Max Kellerman.
While Manny remained professional, Roach did not miss an opportunity to take his shots at Margarito and his trainer Roberto Garcia.
To see more on the FACE OFF interview click here.
Freddie’s un-tethered comments have really begun to rile Margarito and his camp.
“And as far as what Roach says….I don’t have much to say about him except for thinking that he needs to keep his f**king mouth shut” Margarito told fighterchronicles.com.
Margarito continued his rant, “His career is over; he needs to be a trainer instead of talking too much. I’m going to shut his f**king mouth by stopping Manny in 11 rounds.”
By now most of you have seen 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Margarito.
24/7 portrays a calm collected Margarito who seems sure his destiny is to dethrone the P4P king Manny Pacquiao.
When the cameras are off and he’s left with his own thoughts and personal demons, his introspection is personified by comments that define uncertainty.
In my humble opinion, Margarito is guilty of the hand wrapping allegations, regardless of what he claims.
Margarito is mindfully aware of the scrutiny and observation upon him, scrutiny that will intensify the moment his entourage steps foot in Cowboys Stadium for the biggest fight of his life.
He’s mindfully aware of the weakness Roach has seen in him, the aura of invisibility gone and his well regarded granite chin—exposed as just plaster of Paris.
I score round one of the mental bout, 10-9 Roach.