In the build-up to his huge WBC heavyweight title fight against Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury hired legendary trainer Freddie Roach to help him prepare.
Roach - who has worked with various high-profile boxers including Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan and Oscar De La Hoya - will be in Fury’s corner at the Staples Center on December 1.
Fury’s decision to appoint Roach raised the eyebrows of Wilder, who saw this as a nervous move by his next opponent.
“This is the biggest fight of his life to date and if I was him I would be trying to reach out to any resources when you are dealing with one of the most dangerous men in the boxing game,” Wilder told reporters earlier this month.
“I would have been more happy with Peter [Fury], that is who he really needs. His only name has been [Wladimir] Klitschko, but Peter was the one that was with him for that. Peter knows him, in and out.
“In this short period of time [new trainers such as Roach] ain’t going to get to know you. When you start getting multiple trainers that is nervous behaviour.”
Footage of Roach putting Fury through his paces inside the ring at his gym in Hollywood was posted on social media two weeks ago.
And with just a couple of days to go before the fight, Roach has given his analysis of Fury - and it’s rather interesting.
The 58-year-old has been surprised by Fury’s power and overall boxing ability during his short time working with the undefeated British heavyweight.
He’s also been impressed by Fury’s fitness levels.
“He’s very quick,” Roach was quoted as saying by BoxingScene.com. “He’s got great footwork. He moves very well. He’s very fluid. I’ve had him box 12 rounds three times during camp and he’s in great shape. He’s not even breathing hard.
“He’s got very quick hands, also, and he’s a much bigger puncher than people realise. He doesn’t always throw hard, but when he wants to he can throw. And he’s faster with his feet [than Wilder] and I think he can beat Wilder to the shot.
“I think I have a better puncher, actually. When he wants from the southpaw side, he’s very dangerous.”
A better puncher than Wilder? High praise indeed from Roach, who expects Fury to defeat the unbeaten American this weekend.
Roach also wouldn’t be surprised if Fury records a first-round knockout over Wilder, having discussed the possibility with the 30-year-old.
“He asked me, ‘Can I knock him out in the first round?,’ ” Roach added. “And I said, ‘Well, it’s probably not the best idea in the world. But yes, you can.’
“He says, ‘Well, why don’t we?’ And I said, ‘Well, why don’t we just box him, break him down a little bit and then knock him out?’ And he says, ‘Well, that takes time.’
“I said, ‘That’s true.’ He says, ‘I’m ready to go. I’m anxious.’
“I didn’t take [that option] away from him. I didn’t give it to him. I believe he can do it if he wants to.”
For those backing Fury to do the business in Los Angeles this weekend, these are extremely encouraging words indeed.News Now - Sport News