POSTED: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 6:51pm
UPDATED: Friday, June 15, 2012 - 7:42pm
World famous boxing cornerman Freddie Roach, who trains fighters like Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., had a career as a top fighter in his younger years. On two occasions in 1983 he fought another World Champion trainer, Las Crucean Louie Burke.
"Both of them were epic battles. One was 12 rounds for the ESPN Championship and the rematch was on the undercard of Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran at Caesars Palace. I was lucky enough to get the decision on both of them but they were pretty close," said Burke.
Now, nearly 30 years later, the two have been reunited for Saturday's boxing event at the Sun Bowl. While Roach will be in the Chavez Jr. corner for the main event, Burke will be with his own undefeated middleweight, Irvin grad Abie Han, who is fighting Joseph Gomez on the undercard. Despite their history as rivals, the two now consider each other friends.
"I always wished him the best. We were friends even after we fought. I have a lot of respect for him," said Burke.
Should Chavez Jr. win on Saturday over #1 contender Andy Lee of Ireland, he would retain his WBC World Middleweight Championship belt. Burke trains a middleweight champ of his own. Las Cruces native Austin Trout, WBA Middleweight Championship. So could there ever be a renewal of the rivalry between the trainers? Louie hopes so.
"His world champion vs my world champion would be awesome."
Saturday's bouts begin at 5:30pm with HBO live coverage beginning at 8pm local time.