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article imageFreddie Roach to Help Rebuild Team USA Boxing

By Paul Magno     Aug 7, 2011 in Sports
The Five-time Trainer of the Year will lend a hand to a struggling and underachieving Team USA in advance of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Imagine the young men of the US Olympic boxing team getting battle-hardened in sparring with the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan? Well, that's exactly what new Team USA consultant, Freddie Roach, has in mind.
There was a time when Team USA was guaranteed Olympic prominence and true dominance. After all, this was the program the produced the likes of Muhammad Ali, Pernell Whitaker, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman, and Oscar De la Hoya (among many others). The US Olympic boxing team was the training ground for future world champions, dating back for as long as there was a US Olympic team. Lately, though, the pickings have been slim and the once proud American boxing program has all but fallen apart.
With only two gold medals in the last four Olympic Games, the program has gone from sluggish to downright dead. The 2008 games in Beijing, China brought only one bronze medal (Deontay Wilder) for Team USA, compared to eight total medals (three gold, three silver, and two bronze) just two decades earlier, at the 1988 games.
In an effort to right the ship, Team USA and the USOC (United States Olympic Committee) has brought in a group of professional volunteers to work with the American team under the supervision of new USA national coach, Joe Zanders.
Chief among the list of patriotic volunteers is five-time Trainer of the Year, Freddie Roach, who was happy to lend a hand, despite being swamped with work from his stable of fighters, including Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., among many.
"There has been a lot of criticism," Roach told Sports Illustrated. "I haven't been around amateurs since 1977. [But] it looks like we need some help. We are just not getting the job done."
Roach's involvement will consist of hands-on strategy sessions, consulting, and the importation of Team USA standouts to his Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for professional-level sparring -- something that has been lacking in recent years as members of the Olympic team usually only spar with one another and those fighters who have already been eliminated from the team.
"I was asked by the USOC if I would like to have Freddie as a strategist," Coach Zanders said. "It took me about a second-and-a-half to say, 'Hell yes.'"
Last month, Roach spent three days working with flyweight Rau'shee Warren and lightweight Raynell Williams and, according to Zanders, the improvement is already evident.
Fans of the sport recognize the fact that USA Boxing sets the mark for the professional ranks in the United States. A strong amateur team brings a strong professional presence-- something that the sport desperately needs at the moment.
More about Freddie Roach, Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, Team usa, Olympics
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