In the bustling Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, CA, the untrained eye might glance over the soft-spoken, unassuming man named Freddie Roach. However, the absolute respect that Roach commands from fellow boxers and trainers is unmistakable and well deserved. Four-time trainer of the year Freddie Roach is one of the most popular and successful trainers in the sport, having trained 25 world champions, including 7 weight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao and British boxing sensation Amir Khan. Like many boxing trainers, Roach originally began his career as a professional boxer but only enjoyed nominal success, retiring in 1986 with a mediocre record of 39 victories and 13 losses. After his retirement from professional boxing, Roach would go on to enjoy vast success in his career as a boxing trainer, but it was a career that almost didn’t happen.
“I only got into being a boxing trainer when my trainer Eddie Futch was too busy one time to train Virgil Hill,” stated Roach in a recent interview. “Virgil Hill is the first world champion I ever trained and if it weren’t for Eddie being so busy, I might never have become a boxing trainer at all.”
When asked what he would have become if he had not become a boxing trainer, Roach jokingly replied, “Probably a drunk.”
As a professional boxer, Roach was not known for his being elusive inside the ring, and now as a trainer, Roach continues to opt for the direct approach, offering his candid advice and timeless wisdom. When asked about what tips he could offer to aspiring trainers, Roach only had one tip to mention. “Work your [butt] off.” As for tips for aspiring boxers, Roach smiled from behind his thick black frames and responded, “Work hard and listen to your trainer.”
Roach’s candid advice serves as a reminder that his prolific career in boxing was not founded on talent and luck, but it was a career that was developed through hard work and perseverance. Battling against Parkinson’s disease, Roach shows no signs of slowing down and he continues to maintain a strong stable of fighters and potential future world champions, such as 17 year old boxing prodigy Jose Benavidez. “With 7 professional fights and 7 knockouts, he’s the hottest prospect in boxing,” stated Roach with a proud smile. With the same unwavering courage he displayed in the ring as a fighter, Freddie Roach continues to build on his legacy to the sport of boxing with his inspirational hard work and dedication.