Boxing Trainer Says Eliminating Strength Coaches Would Solve the Steroid Problem

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Freddie Roach, the trainer for Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, thinks he knows how to solve the problem of anabolic steroids in boxing. In a recent interview with Marcos Villegas of The Boxing Channel, Roach explained how strength and conditioning coaches were responsible for the scourge of steroids in boxing.

The most well-known trainer in the sport of boxing was asked by Villegas to share his thoughts on Juan Manuel Marquez’s physique transformation and the controversial strength coach who helped him achieve it.

“And, you know, I think if we got rid of all the strength and conditioning coaches in the world, they’re all way overrated and they’re bullshit, we got rid of all of them, we would have no drugs in boxing,” said Roach.

Roach’s comments were obviously directed at Angel Guillermo “Memo” Heredia. Heredia has been Marquez’s strength coach for his past three fights. Heredia’s admitted history as a steroid dealer has raised eyebrows. Roach is convinced that Heredia is giving steroids to Marquez.

“[Marquez] has gotten bigger and gained weight — it throws up a red flag,” Roach said. “I’ve been accused so many times of my fighters being on steroids (that) I hate to accuse other people. But it is part of our life, part of the world we live in.”

Heredia was a steroid source for several elite track and field athletes several years ago. He cooperated federal prosecutors during the BALCO investigation reportedly disclosed the names of at least a dozen elite track athletes. He was never charged with a crime.

Rather than single out Heredia, Roach chose to place the blame for steroids in boxing on all strength and conditioning coaches.

Villegas was quick to point out the Roach’s own client, Manny Pacquiao, also used a strength coach.

Roach tried to backtrack. He acknowledged that strength coach Alex Ariza is part of Team Pacquiao but claimed that he isn’t really used for anything other than “stretching.”

Interestingly, it turns out that Ariza is good friends with Heredia. And Ariza has strongly defended Heredia against accusations like the ones made by Roach.

“Memo is brilliant — I don’t have any suspicions,” Ariza told USA Today. “When you get someone like that who knows the science of exercise and nutrition . . . Well, we saw a whole different fighter when he fought Manny last time.”

Yet Roach remains unconvinced.

“If (his body) is natural, I will kiss his ass,” Roach said.

The non-title welterweight bout of “Pacquaio vs. Marquez IV” will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on December 8, 2012. If Marquez passes his anti-doping tests, will Roach honor his promise?


Saraceno, J. (November 27, 2012). Pacquiao opponent Marquez denies doping accusations. Retrieved from

Bad Left Hook. (November 29, 2012). Pacquiao vs Marquez IV: Freddie Roach says Manny’s at his best in camp, discusses Marquez PED accusations. Retrieved from