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By Ronnie Nathanielsz

Celebrated trainer Freddie Roach says he expects Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista to be “a better fighter” following his shocking first round knockout at the hands of the menacing WBO super bantamweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon in the Philippine-Mexico World Cup in Sacramento, California last August 11.

Roach spoke to Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today at a fabulous dinner hosted by esteemed boxing patron Tony Aldeguer, his charming wife Lou and the Aldeguer family at their wonderful home nestled on high ground that provides a panoramic view of Cebu City. The dinner was in honor of newly crowned WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa and the RP boxing team that whipped Mexico 5-1.

Roach said “we are going to see if he (Bautista) really wants it because when somebody loses their first fight they either fold up and go away or they train harder and come back and be a better fighter.” Roach cited his own career when he was 10-0 and lost his eleventh pro fight. “I was so mad, really angry and I won 17 straight after that because it made me a better fighter, it made me train harder.”

Roach also cited the case of Manny Pacquiao who was knocked out in his eleventh fight by Rustico Torrecampo but came back to become the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today.

The two-time “Trainer of the Year” said the loss should make Bautista a better fighter because “you learn from your mistakes. He is still a very young man and has a bright future ahead of him if he chooses to go that route.”

Roach commended outstanding Filipino trainer and former two-time world minimum weight title challenger Edito “Ala” Villamor saying he “does a great job with the boys and I am really happy to be a part of the team.”

Roach said “this is great. This team is a bunch of good guys who all work very hard . It’s a great achievement to beat a Mexican team and we have some great prospects – some young guys, some old guys with Gerry Penalosa leading the pack and of course a hot prospect in AJ “Bazooka” Banal and Z “The Dream” Gorres. They are a bunch of good boys.”
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