Freddie Roach has been around the proverbial block when it comes to the sport of boxing. From his own days as a professional fighter to his time working under the tutelage of legendary trainer Eddie Futch to his current run as an elite-level trainer, Roach has seen everything and done almost everything.
The former longtime trainer of Manny Pacquiao (among many others) will be present at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas for the Errol Spence-Terence Crawford blockbuster welterweight unification bout this Saturday, working the corner of Giovanni Cabrera as he battles Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz in a WBA and WBA lightweight eliminator on the undercard.
Despite having no horse in the Spence-Crawford race, the boxing lifer does have some opinions on the matchup, though.
“I have wanted to see this fight for a long time, and I can tell Spence and Crawford have wanted it too, which is another reason I have wanted to see this fight,” Roach told Boxing News. “They want to know, and prove, which one is the best. It will be a close fight. While on paper, it has the look of Leonard-Hearns, I think it could end up being better.”
Although Roach sees the fight as a competitive matchup, he does feel, however, that one fighter will have a slight edge.
“In my mind, Crawford is the best fighter in the game and has been for several years. In this fight, I give the edge to Crawford because he is the more complete fighter. I am so impressed by his strategy and well-balanced style of fighting. I can tell he thinks out the game plan thoroughly well in advance of facing each opponent by the way he warms up in the dressing room. He is not just warming up; he is working on his game plan. Every punch in that dressing room is a piece of his strategy.
“Inside the ring, he executes his game plan flawlessly. By the end of round two, Crawford has figured out his opponent. I can see it. After that, Crawford is close to invincible. I have never seen any fighter switch from orthodox to southpaw so seamlessly. And that is just one part of his arsenal.”
Roach, who has trained upwards of 40 world champions over the course of his career, studied Spence prior to what was supposed to be a bout with his fighter, Pacquiao, back in August of 2021. A retinal tear forced Spence to pull out of that contest.
“I am also impressed with Spence,” Roach added. “He has a perfect record against a stronger roster of opposition than Crawford. Experience is a great teacher. I studied a lot of tape on him when Manny was training to fight him. Spence is strong and aggressive, and in my opinion a better puncher than Crawford. Manny and I knew he was going to be a tough fight.
“Having said that, I believe Crawford’s is the better boxer and that’s why I give him the edge. But this should be a great fight, one boxing needs and fans deserve.”
In the eyes of fight fans and media, Spence-Crawford is pretty much a 50-50 pick ‘em fight despite Crawford being the slight betting favorite at the moment. The winner of this bout between the IBF/WBA/WBC welterweight champ Spence and the WBO champ Crawford will become the very first fully unified welterweight champ of the four-belt era.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford will take place Saturday, July 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will air live on Showtime PPV, atop a Premier Boxing Champions card.