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Saturday, January 29, 2022

INTERVIEW: Lamont Roach Jr on father-son teams, loving boxing, and more

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Lamont Roach Jr. is an unabashed boxing fan.

When the 26-year-old super featherweight isn’t in the ring himself, he’s probably watching the show. Highlighting pay-per-view battles? All-time action classics? Shockingly disturbing? Controversial positions? Even when the show involves less than excitement, sometimes it’s disappointing? Lamont is tuned in, just like any other boxing fan.

This Saturday, Roach will be one of the stars of the show on DAZN, where he faces former WBA champion Rene Alvarado as part of Zordo Ramirez against Yoneske Gonzalez.

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Bad Left Hook met him before that fight to talk about his way back to fighting for world titles, his opinions on father-son boxing teams, and his favorite TV commentators.

Our conversation follows, slightly modified for length and clarity.

Lamont Roach vs Alberto Mercado in 2018
Photo by Sarah Steer/Getty Images

Bad left hook: I’m going back from the way I usually approach interviews. Usually, towards the end, I’ll ask fighters who enjoy watching it. But we’re making a regular feature called “Pros React,” where we cover what people in the online boxing world have to say during and after major fights. And you’re watching everyone, man! You love boxing!

Lamont Roach Jr.: ha ha! I do man! I’m a boxing fan, brother.

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Obviously! It seems that even if you don’t have the talent to be at the level you are as a fighter, you will still watch fights all the time anyway. What do you love about this sport so much?

you know what? This is a good question. because of me? I like to punch people in the face. I’m lucky enough to get paid for it.

I just love it! I love competition, I love showcasing skill. Sometimes I like to argue. I love seeing people’s reactions. I love listening to commentators, so I can talk about them too. I’m just a boxing guy.

Well, since you mentioned the comment teams – I don’t want to put you in an awkward position by asking negative questions, especially since you have the comment team talking about you in a fight this weekend. So who do you love? Who likes to hear call battles when you watch them?

I love Andre [Ward]. He calls it fair and square. He’s the one who’s been in the ring and knows things emphasis Broadcasters may be over-excited about it. I really love Polly [Malignaggi] When he calls to fight. He was wonderful.

I love Mauro Ranallo from Showtime. It is very mobile and very active. He keeps things running, and he’s always the same. It never changes for anyone. And I loved Roy [Jones Jr] and Max Kellerman when they were working on HBO.

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Your dad is a huge part of your career, and I was wondering if you have any ideas to share with us on how this dynamic works for a boxer. We’ve seen some notable fights lately where the father-son dynamic ended up being a huge part of the story. Shawn and Kenny PorterAnd Teofemo Lopez Senior And Junior, for example.

You are in a seemingly smoother situation where working closely with your father does not cause any problems or conflict. What can you tell boxing fans that they may not understand about this dynamic, since it is not easy for a fighter to make any changes?

I think people don’t understand that when dad is involved, they’ve likely been involved since they started boxing. The rules are kind of the other way around. They were the ones who put all the money into it. If they have other children, they sacrifice their time with them. Some parents approach it differently, and it affects things. Unfortunately, it sometimes veers things the wrong way.

Even when we see a bad situation, I’m sure these father and son weren’t toxic all along. I just think that when it comes to the business side? This is what we do for our jobs. And for some parents, it clicks differently.

Fortunately, my father knows how to separate father and coach, or father and principal. That’s something I applaud about, and I’m very grateful for that.

Let’s talk about your Fighting the beauty of herring. That was your first shot of an upper belt, and you took it when you were just 24 years old. Many young people do not take this risk when they are young. What made you seize the opportunity at that age?

Well, most importantly, I worked for it. I knew I was at that level. I knew I was that kind of fighter to take on Jamal Hering and win that title. And I was just moments away from changing my life drastically.

Once you become a world champion, recognition is even better. The pay is better. And I don’t struggle or complain about the salary at all. But it is a fact. And I was there. I was there mentally, I was there physically. I just came a little short.

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What does an experience like this teach you? Do you think it would help you achieve more of your career as a whole than if you waited a few more years to take on this level of challenge?

Being at that level, winning, losing, or drawing, gives you that confidence. Prove that “Yes, I belong here.” I’m not someone who should look for it, because I’m self-motivated, and I know the work I’m doing. I know where I belong. But it assures you.

That fight was definitely a building block in my career. We were looking to take advantage, and I think we’re in the last two fights, to show that this is the level we’re at. We belong to the world champion, global competition level.

I had this herring fight at the end of 2019, and the world of boxing changed drastically after that due to the COVID situation. How was the luck for you? It looks like pay-per-view stars get to fight a battle or two each year, and players at the odds level will always have development points on the cards that are grouped together.

But, you’re not a PPV, and you’re past the point where we have to understand “Can he handle Southpaw? Is he ready for an 8-round fight?” For the guy you’re into in your career, was it hard for you to kind What opportunities did you have before COVID?

COVID is definitely a factor. We were looking to get the ball rolling after Jamal’s fight regardless. I would pay for a fight like this [against Rene Alvarado], but COVID intervened and it was difficult to fight a battle like this at the time. And there were a lot of fighters in my position. I’m not the only fighter Golden Boy has on their list. They have a lot of fighters to worry about, and they have to do what’s best for them in business.

But matching players, not only in the pandemic, but throughout my career, has been amazing. Shout out to Roberto Diaz – He’s the man. My career has improved since I first started my professional career. We have a good team and we are on the right track.

You’re not a high knockout ratio guy, but your last two wins have been KOs. And don’t respect Jamal Hering, but if that punch lands a minute early in the eleventh round, you could have three consecutive knockouts. Are you making a strategic change? Are you maturing into a new physical strength?

Strategic changes? definitely yes. Growth in strength? We work hard in every camp. We try to get stronger and faster in each camp.

If you look at my battles, even though I didn’t stop them all, these guys were strong. And those were the fights that I needed to level up as a professional. I hurt everyone I was in the ring with. Our thing was to settle down, as soon as he hit a guy, to get him out of there. And that’s something we’ve definitely worked on.

You fight Rene Alvarado on Saturday. You are in the world rankings for both WBA and WBO. Assuming you take care of work this weekend as expected, what do you see as your path forward for the next year or two?

Hopefully after we beat Renee we can get the world title. Chris Colbert will fight Roger Gutierrez. The way I see that fight going, I think Chris Colbert is going to win. But, if Roger sticks to that championship, I’m sure we’ll be next.

If all things go my way, if my Christmas list comes true, this is what will happen. I’m in 2022, fighting Roger Gutierrez for the World Basketball Association World Championship. After this fight, I’ll be honest about the heroes fight. This is what I want to do, this is where I want to be. I think this fight puts me there, because Rene Alvarado is only two fights away from being removed from his world title.

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