Sunday, June 21, 2009

You may now lean on the counters at Wildcard

Michael Moorer, former Heavyweight Champion and trainer at Freddie Roach's Wildcard Boxing Club was relieved of his position recently.

Roach cited irreconcilable differences between some of the fighters and Moorer as the reason behind the dissolution.

Michael Moorer called Freddie Roach many times over the last year, telling him he would come to Los Angeles and asked to be Roach's Chief Assistant. Moorer showed up one day, shortly before Manny Pacquiao's training camp for Ricky Hatton, which took place May 2, 2009. HBO's series, 24/7 perhaps captured the regression of the relationship in the four episodes leading up to the fight; with the first episode showing a guarded, but enthusiastic Freddie Roach talking about Moorer's help in the ring with his number one fighter. By the fourth episode, it is revealed that Moorer bullies gym-goers by charging them money for merely leaning on the counter (which is exactly what a counter is for, in this writer's opinion) and has 'inter-personal issues' with some of the other trainers. And though Moorer claims during the series that he would send Roach home early on occasion because of Roach's exhaustion due to his continuous battle with Parkinson's disease, it is reported that this never happened once during camp. Wildcard insiders would concur that Moorer's role in training camp was widely exaggerated in the popular HBO series, to the detriment of Roach's reputation, leading viewers to believe that the veteran trainer could no longer handle an intense training camp. This couldn't be further from the truth. Roach continues to maintain a grueling 6 day per week, 12 hour per day schedule and has not shown any signs of slowing down.

Moorer brought a unique edge to the Wildcard, with his enviable boxing knowledge and experience (he beat Holyfield by Majority Decision after being knocked down in the second round!). It was an interesting dynamic to watch, between Former Champ and (perhaps) Future Champs working together. Seemingly, who would be a better candidate to serve as Chief Assistant to one of the best trainers in the world than a former World Champion?

If inter-personal issues are truly to blame for the demise of this relationship, one hopes Moorer will use this as an opportunity to reflect and recover. But for now, the Wildcard counters will be open for leaning - free of charge.