Angel Hernandez (above) has joined Juan Manuel Marquez's team as a strength and conditioning coach, but not without controversy. (Youtube.com)
LAS VEGAS -- One of the most controversial figures involved with the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is Angel Hernandez, Marquez's newly minted conditioning coach, who in 2008 reportedly admitted to a grand jury that he supplied Olympic track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery with performance enhancing drugs.
The presence of Hernandez, who escaped punishment by providing information about other steroid users to federal investigators, has led to questions about just how Marquez, who will be making just his second fight at welterweight, has been packing on the pounds.
Hernandez sat down with a small group of reporters on Wednesday:
How will your presence make a difference in this fight?
Hernandez: If you go back and look at the previous two fights, Juan Manuel had a lot of endurance. In this fight, when he is going up in weight you have to watch the speed. Against [Floyd] Mayweather he fought at 144 pounds and because of that he was slow, didn't have any mobility, any strength. This was a guy that never lifted weights, never did any work with the medicine ball, never did explosive drills. The difference will be that both guys have a lot of endurance, but Juan will have the same rhythm but better strength. Whoever connects with the first good punch, that person will be knocked out.
You say you have gotten Juan faster and bigger and stronger. How?
Hernandez: He's explosive now. His punches are stronger than they were before. Why? His muscle mass has increased and his explosiveness is still there. His punches will have a bigger impact now.
What about the controversy around you?
Hernandez: The public opinion will always be there. As I said earlier, we were the first ones who said that we have not used anything illegal. We have asked the commission if they want to do blood and urine test, we welcome it. Supplementation, legal supplementation, has changed. You can't compare a supplement that was on the market 10 years ago to a supplement today. There is different research going on all over the world. Of course, with science, things change. You can't train someone with the same supplements since there are many supplements that can make a different with an athlete if taken at the right time.
So you have been using only legal supplements?
Hernandez: All legal, all permitted by the rules of boxing.
What supplements have you introduced that Juan was not using before?
Hernandez: He had never used creatine. He has never used amino acids and enzymes that help you to recover. Stuff to reduce the lactic acid. Our advantage is that instead of having three good days of working out, we have six. The main thing is recovering between workouts. We have been using a hyperbaric chamber. We have been running higher near the volcano [in Mexico City].
Does it make you angry that people are questioning you?
Hernandez: No. People can say whatever they want. One of the people who always had a vendetta against me is Victor Conte, and he lacks credibility. I have done a lot of positive in the sport. I have done a lot of positive with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. I did a lot of good stuff. I don't judge, but I don't take it personally.
Do you think this takes something away from Marquez?
Hernandez: You cannot judge someone that has had an incredible career. I've only been here 10, 11 weeks. You can't question what he has done in the past. Nacho [Beristain] is an excellent coach. Conditioning-wise, they had a coach who used an old system. The kind of system you saw in the old Rocky movies. There are so many changes in nutrition, supplements today. It makes me a little bit mad. I'm not anyone. You can't judge him.
Were you prepared for this backlash?
Hernandez: If I had anything to hide, I never would have gone on HBO. We have done everything legal. We do good supplementation. We do proper training. We do good recovery in between sessions. We're not the only people who use this stuff.
Do you have any concerns that Manny is using performance-enhancing drugs?
Hernandez: No, Manny, I truly admire Manny. He has been one of my favorite boxers. He has done blood and urine testing in the past. I don't think anything negative about him. My opinion of him is that he is a great athlete. In my personal opinion, he is clean.
-- Chris Mannix