He’s arguably one of boxing’s best ever trainers. Here’s how he got started out as a fighter, coach and how he operates at the top of his game today despite many challenges.
Freddie Roach is a former boxer trained by Eddie Futch, with a decent record of 40-13 (15KOs) but in his career he took a lot of punches and in his highest paid fight he only got $7,500. When he retired he had a lot of small time jobs until he went back to Eddie Futch to become his apprentice.
In 1991, he decided to go it on his own, taking Micky Rourke under his wing in California. In 1995 when Rourke decided to quit boxing with a record of 6-0-2 (4KO), he gave all his gym equipment to Freddie which he used to open his Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles.
Boxers from all around the world travel to the Wild Card gym, some of the biggest names in boxing like De La Hoya, Mike Tyson, Chávez Jr, Provodnikov and Cotto came to train under Roach. Manny Pacquiao is the biggest name Freddie has had in his camp.
Roach once said:
“When Manny Pacquiao walked through that door. That changed my life forever.”
Freddie and Manny have a very close relationship, kind of like father and son, you can see this when you watch them together.
Freddie Roach has gained lots of notable honours in the boxing world, he was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame being his highest honour to date.
He has also been named Boxing Writers Association trainer of the year an incredible seven times. With all of these awards and all the World Champions (27 in total to date) that have trained under him, there is no surprise he is regarded by many to be the best trainer in the world.
Freddie has also been involved with training well known female boxers, perhaps with his most notable client in this regard been Lucia Rijker.
Roach suffers from Parkinsons Disease which symptoms are shaking, slowness of movement and speech. Freddie seems to control the disease well through medication and his training. Roach’s doctors feel that his active life style have made it possible to slow the progress of the disease.
He is a true inspiration to others with Parkinsons. It’s amazing watching Pacquiao’s speed on the pads with Roach and Freddie’s hand speed keeping up the with the pace.
Freddie has took on an apprentice himself in recent years and is currently passing on his experience to Marvin Somodio. Roach brought Somodio to the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. Roach says Somodio learns really fast and follows instructions very well.
Somodio’s appointment as Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning trainer has in fact lifted the spirits of the Pacquiao training team. From humble beginnings, Somodio has become the right hand of legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach. Ruslan Provodnikov has called him: “The Filipino Freddie Roach”.
When Freddie finally has to hang up the pads and no longer can train boxers anymore, Marvin Somodio will probably take over the Wild Card gym, one would imagine.
Freddie has not only trained 27 World Champions in his boxing club, but he has also let people come off the street to train in the famous Wild Card gym for just $5 a day.
This is a true testament to the kind of man Freddie is.
In my opinion, Freddie Roach is the greatest trainer of all time and when I watch videos of him training fighters like Pacquiao and Cotto I am just as mesmerized watching him, as I am watching the fighters.
He defies the odds, fighting his own fight against his debilitating illness every day. Here’s a quick tribute to one of boxing’s best trainers:
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