“Does the teacher make the student or vice versa?” inquired Big Steve during our Sunday morning Java at Starbucks on Western Avenue. Five time recipient of the trainer of the year award, master Coach, Freddie Roach is being inducted into an International Boxing Hall of Fame next year. “Does Manny Pacquiao deserve any credit for the honor bestowed on his long time Coach and confidant, Freddie Roach? Great number of pundits believes quite the contrary. They feel that famed Hollywood trainer is solely responsible for turning an offensive machine that was Manny Pacquiao into a complete fighter and a pound for pound king that he is today. However, Coach Roach has a different outlook on the situation. “Manny Pacquiao will go down as one of the best ever and they will call me the best coach because I had the opportunity to work with him,” Roach said when I spoke with him in Los Angeles right before third encounter between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez:” But believe me if he didn’t have the talent I wouldn’t be much.”
Few believe it. That is why Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood is like Manhattan of the boxing world; packed to capacity with prize fighters and most likely the best place in the world to find sparring. Even though Roach trained such ring greats as Mike Tyson, James Toney and Oscar De La Hoya, his name will forever be enshrined into record books together with Manny Pacquaio; the best boxing tandem of today.
2011 has been especially satisfying year for super Coach, Freddie Roach. Aside from making major paydays with his prized pupil, Manny Pacquiao and turning two other students, Amir Khan and Julio Cesar Jr. into complete fighters and emerging stars, Freddie Roach has been asked to help United States Olympic boxing team to get ready for the next Olympiad. Roach considered it an honor and a privilege. Major Boxing television network, HBO has found persona of fifty two year old coach fascinating. They have been filming a six part documentary about afflicted with Parkinson’s disease Roach who finds his salvation in the ring.
Despite all the recent fame and fortune, Roach remains the same down to earth and humble man I met approximately ten years ago. You can always count on veteran coach to give you a straight answer. The Freddie Roach that stands in my mind is the one who trained James Toney for a come back fight in San Jose. It was in 2007 and Toney looked horrible against a journeyman, Danny Batchelder. I asked Freddie at the airport what he thought about James Toney’s performance. “I told him he needs to retire,” Roach said.
I wish Toney would listen to him. I wish I would listen To Freddie Roach myself when he told me in 2008 to bet all my money on Manny Pacquiao in a fight against Oscar De La Hoya.
Scrappy prize fighter with limited abilities, Freddie Roach made the most out of his coaching career. His induction into the International Boxing Hall of Famed is well deserved.
“I’d like to thank everyone, from the bottom of my heart, who voted for me and congratulate those inducted with me today,” said Roach in a statement about his induction. ”I started my career in professional boxing with Eddie Futch and now we will be together, forever, enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame with the greatest legends of the sport. I am truly honored and humbled.”
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