Famed boxing coach and trainer Freddie Roach has worked with some big names in mixed martial arts. From Georges St-Pierre to Anderson Silva, Roach is familiar with talent in both MMA and of course, boxing.
With current UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor recently getting his boxing license, it has caused quite a buzz in the boxing world with a few boxers and promoters interested in getting a piece of the Irish superstar in the boxing ring.
When asked about the possibility of McGregor fighting a boxer, Roach says that he thinks it will never happen as he already attempted to put a fight together between two stars from the two different combat sports. Roach mentioned that he has had a longtime relationship with Ari Emmanuel, the head behind WME-IMG, who recently bought the UFC for $4 billion.
“He told me, ‘Freddie, that will never happen in our lifetime,’” Roach said of his conversation with Emanuel. “And I don’t think it will ever happen. An MMA fighter fights in boxing rules, the boxer wins. If it’s vice versa, they fight with MMA rules, they win. It’s two completely different sports. You can’t really compare the two.
“He can punch a little bit, yes,” Roach said of McGregor. “But can he punch as good as Mayweather or Paulie Malignaggi? I mean, maybe he’ll go against a guy that can’t punch that hard?’”
Interestingly, Roach said that Mayweather personally advised him to accept the task of training McGregor for a fight against him if it ever came up as it would result in a big payday.
“Mayweather came to my gym,” Roach said. “He said, ‘Freddie, I’m going to fight this guy McGregor. If you get a chance to train him, take that job because the fights gotta happen. You’ll make a lot of money.’ And I say, ‘I would need five years to get him ready to fight you.’ So he laughed at me, but it’s true. For him to get ready to fight Mayweather? Come on. That’s a difficult style. I mean, probably one of the best boxers in the world today,” Roach said as Mayweather retired in 2015. “He’s not a risk-taker anymore, he’s not the most exciting guy in the world but he’s still a great boxer and this guy [McGregor] can’t beat guys like that, in my opinion.”
“He’s [McGregor] fun to watch. He’s a character. But again, he’s not that good of a fighter. He’ll let his hands go and so forth and he’s a little wild and so forth but as far as boxing wise, I mean supposedly he went to Wild Card West and boxed with Chris Van Heerden and Van Heerden told me, he says, ‘I f***ing killed him.’ But I wasn’t there so I don’t know. But Chris Van Heerden, he’s a tough kid, good boxer. But I just don’t think he’s in that class of boxing.”
What do you think of Freddie Roach’s comments? Do you agree or disagree with the revered boxing coach? Sound off in the comments!