MANILA, Philippines – Long-time boxing trainer Freddie Roach shared a little inside information when UFC featherweight titleholder Conor McGregor visited his gym to spar with one of his boxers.
The 7-time BWAA “Trainer of the Year” awardee bared that McGregor had a difficult time in his sparring session with South African pugilist Chris van Heerden at the second branch of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Santa Monica, California.
“He did go to Wild Card West and sparred and got beat up a little bit by a couple of my guys,” Roach said in an interview with Fight Hub TV. “My South African fighter Chris van Heerden, I heard he beat him up a little bit. But Chris is a good fighter though.”
Amid fervent rumors of a potential crossover bout between McGregor and unbeaten American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr, Roach denied reports that he was approached to train the 27-year-old Irishman.
“With the McGregor thing that they called me and asked me if I would train him for the fight, that’s a lie. They never called me once,” he stated.
Roach expects a complete shutout victory from Mayweather if he agrees to come out of retirement to step into the ring with McGregor.
“If they fight in boxing rules, Mayweather will probably destroy him. I did tell Mayweather that if you want me to train him, it will probably take 3 years to get him ready,” he stressed.
Van Heerden was impressed by McGregor’s skillset, but he feels that UFC’s featherweight kingpin would have little chance against a highly-decorated boxer like Mayweather.
“After a good cleanup on skill, he will be in there for a few rounds, but the truth is Floyd will have his way. He is the master of boxing. No one beats Floyd,” Van Heerden told FightHype.com.
When asked if he is willing to train McGregor responded, “I like helping people. If I can help him, I would.”
Roach, who has played a pivotal part in Manny Pacquiao’s rise to boxing stardom, is no stranger to the sport of mixed martial arts as he once trained Georges St-Pierre, Andrei Arlovski and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
However, Roach believes that Mayweather and McGregor will never come into terms for a fight.
“I just don’t think that this fight is really going to take place. I don’t see these two sports mixing that well together,” he ended. – Rappler.com
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