Newly-inducted Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach is happy with the progress that lightweight Jamie Kavanagh (10-0-1, 5 KOs) is making since the Irishman moved to Los Angeles over two years ago.
The Irish Voice caught up with the Wild Card Gym trainer in El Paso, Texas, last week when he was working the corner of middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., who scored a seventh round TKO victory over Andy Lee.
"Jamie is doing real well. I have been traveling a lot lately with (Manny) Pacquiao and Amir (Khan) and Chavez and I haven't had a lot of time, but Sedano (Ruiz), his Spanish coach, is doing a great job,” he said.
Kavanagh racked up his 10th win as a professional when he knocked Jorge Ibarra (11-7-2) out in the second round of their fight at the Oasis Hotel Complex in Cancun on May 26.
"He's just had a great performance in Cancun, he looked really well in the fight, and I think that draw we had was a wake-up call for him and it sparked him to work a little harder. It was probably more of a good thing than a bad thing,” said Roach.
The draw Roach is referring to was the fight between the Dubliner and Ramesis Gil on December 12 at the Convention Center in Washington, D.C, on the undercard of the Amir Khan/Lamont Peterson fight.
Kavanagh suffered a cut to his right eye and an injury to his right hand early in that fight, but he managed to come through those setbacks to grind out a majority draw.
Kavanagh started his career at the Wild Card in the 140-pound division, but his team soon decided that he should make the move down to the lightweight division (135 pounds).
“You know he is just too small to fight in the 140 division, you can look at him and see that," added Roach.
"135 is a much better weight for him. He'll be a much better puncher at that weight, once he settles down and sits down on his punches a little bit. He still has a lot of amateur in him, but we are slowly making those changes."
Kavanagh's family moved to Malaga, Spain, when he was a youngster, and the 22-year-old's linguistic skills have had a significant impact on his career in the U.S.
"When Golden Boy found out he that he was bi-lingual and that he could speak Spanish - they have a lot of Telemundo shows and that is their biggest audience in boxing - they signed him right away. They wanted to sign him before Top Rank did. We could have gone either way, but Golden Boy made the better offer at the time,” said Roach.
Kavanagh is next in action on July 14 on the undercard of the Khan/Danny Garcia fight at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. He is scheduled to fight in an eight-rounder against a yet to be named opponent.
"I would probably give him two or three more eight-rounders and then move to 10," said Roach. "If you can fight eight, then you can fight 10."
In other news, light middleweight Henry Coyle (17-2, 12 KOs) ended a 10-month long ring absence with a unanimous decision win over Damon Antoine (9-38-2, 4KOs) at the Belvedere Banquet in Elk Grove, Illinois.