When Georges St-Pierre enlisted the help of revered boxing coach Freddie Roach, it demonstrated that the UFC welterweight champ is still continuing to work towards shoring up all of the weaknesses in his overall game. Having worked with Canadian Olympic boxers Otis and Howard Grant for most of his MMA career, most would assume that GSP had his boxing covered, but that’s why he’s a UFC champ any we’re all armchair fighters.
Roach, who revealed in the interview above with FightHubTV.com that St-Pierre asked him to be in his corner for his upcoming UFC 124 rematch with Josh Koscheck in Montreal but he had to decline due to commitments with other fighters, says that the French Canadian has all the tools to become a great pugilist.
"He told me that he thought he knew boxing until he met me. He’s improving all the time…His boxing ability is getting a lot better. He’s getting a lot looser. We tried to loosen him up. He’s not so tight like normal and he’s a great student. I show him something and next day, he’s got it pretty much down. I’d say, ‘Georges, how long did you practice that move in the mirror?’ and he’d look at me and say, ‘How did you know?’ ‘Come on,’ I said, ‘Nobody can improve that quickly.’ He’s a great student and a great guy; I wish him the best."
Recalling the first time St-Pierre walked into his protegee, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao’s gym in the Philippines, Roach said that "Rush" demonstrated the same gentlemanly demeanor that he he does in interviews and in person.
"Manny doesn’t watch the UFC quite that much and I don’t know if he’s ever seen Georges fight before. Georges was kind of nervous about coming in the gym. He wouldn’t get out of the car. I walked down and got him and I said, ‘Come on up,’ and he said, ‘No. I don’t want to step on Manny’s time.’ I said, ‘No, no, everything’s cool. He’s met you and so forth.’ So I walked him in and people were going crazy to see Pacquiao and Georges in the same room. Manny was back in the dressing room so I opened the door and introduced them and closed the door and they had like a half hour conversation. They both came out smiling, very happy. It was really good. Georges is such a good respectful person, he didn’t want to take Manny’s time, so we made it both their time. It was great. He’s a true gentleman."
As far as St-Pierre’s chances against Koscheck, Roach says that he sees him utilizing his hands to put away the cocky wrestler.
"The thing with Georges is he needs to loosen up a little bit and to be a little more fluid. He’s very strong of course, but he was a little bit stiff. I got him more loose, more elusive and [got him using] more head movement and he did very well. He really improved quite a bit. Koscheck jumps in from far away and I taught him how to not pull away from that and counter with a punch and I told him, ‘I think you’ll knock him out with that left hook in that fight.’ I hope it happens because we set up a great plan for the way Koscheck jumps in. I can make that public because he can’t stop doing it. It’s one of his habits."
Roach also revealed that he will likely become a regular fixture of St-Pierre’s training camps in the future.
"Yes. They want me to go to Montreal and they want me to corner him in some of his fights. If I can make someone a better fighter, I don’t care what sport it is — I respect all sports — but if I can make someone a better fighter, if it’s MMA or UFC or Manny Pacquiao, it doesn’t matter to me. That’s what I live for."