Photo: Esther Lin/Zuffa LLC
Former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski explains why training with Freddie Roach hurt his MMA career.
Poor Freddie Roach, the last year hasn't been good for the former multi-time boxing trainer of the year. His top fighters, names like Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan (who left Roach following another KO loss) and Julio Cesar Chavez, were on a streak of losing almost all of their high profile bouts.
"I paid too much attention to boxing," he said. "I wanted to try professional boxing. That's why I didn't focus on wrestling and jiu-jitsu, and it hurt me."
"Definitely I learned from Freddie, and he taught me some cool stuff," Arlovski said. "But at the same time, I was hurting my momentum in my MMA technique, and I had some problems with my other coaches. It was a good experience, but I'm not going to come back again to a boxing gym."
Roach is still a good trainer, but obviously it's not a good idea for a mixed martial artist to spend too much time on their boxing and ignore the other aspects of the sport. There are plenty of good things to be learned from real boxing training, but Arlovski did strike me as a guy who over-dedicated himself to boxing in the ridiculous hopes of having a lasting boxing career.
He has gone five fights without a loss -- one no contest after illegally soccer kicking Tim Sylvia -- but clearly against lesser competition than who he was facing when he lost four fights in a row, three by TKO/KO over a 25 month stretch starting in January 2009. So, while it's impossible to say he's back to where he once was, and unlikely that he ever is a top ten heavyweight again. But he is on a path to close out his career in a much better way than it seemed just two years ago.