Advertisement
Advertisement

Roach uses workload to stay ahead of medical concerns

By Lyle Fitzsimmons

Don’t mourn too much for Freddie Roach.

Not because a guy battling the issues he’s battling doesn’t deserve your concern. But simply because there’s still no place that the former fighter and veteran trainer – who just celebrated birthday No. 54 last month – would rather be than where he is every single day.

The boxing ring. Or, as he labels it, his “comfort zone.”

“I’m doing great. I’m still working as hard as I can and with no problems,” he said. “I still do what I do every day and it doesn’t slow me down at all. As long as I’m in the boxing ring. I have no problems.”

The “it” Roach refers to, of course, is Parkinson’s disease, a malady he’s been openly battling for years while maintaining a blistering workout pace with an array of fighters at his Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles – a labor, incidentally, that’s earned him nods as trainer of the year from the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2003, 2006, 2008-10 and 2013.

That’s all followed a high-profile fight career of his own, which stretched from 1978 to 1986, included 40 wins in 53 bouts and made him an ESPN staple who ultimately earned spotlight matches opposite future world champions Greg Haugen (TKO by 7) and Hector Camacho (L UD 10).

He’s been able to manage the disease medically thus far with drugs and injections, and he’s long said that he believes an active lifestyle has helped him maintain levels of coordination that others who’ve also been afflicted were far quicker to lose.

In fact, we spoke a day after a particularly prodigious day in the gym, during which he’d worked 12 rounds on the mitts with Manny Pacquiao in preparation for Timothy Bradley, eight rounds with Miguel Cotto while getting ready for Sergio Martinez, and six rounds apiece with two other world-class Wild Card clients: Antonio DeMarco, a former WBC champion at 135 pounds; and Denis Lebedev, an ex-WBA champion at cruiserweight.

As it turned out, though, Roach will remember the session for reasons other than extreme workload.

“Miguel and I were working and we both went the same way one time and I busted my nose, but we did six more rounds after that,” he said. “My girlfriend is a little mad at me because my nose is a little more crooked, but that’s part of the deal. I work very close on the drill as possible. Sometimes the punches hit me, sometimes I get head-butted. I really just try to become the opponent, so I was moving along with Cotto because Martinez is very fast and quite a mover.”

Roach overlaps gym time with Pacquiao and Cotto only slightly, usually finishing up with the former while the latter is warming up in preparation for a workout. The two fighters engaged in a memorable fight in 2009 – when Pacquiao stopped Cotto in the final round to win the welterweight title belt that he eventually gave up to Bradley in 2012 – but they are now good friends.

The friendship, in fact, is why both the fighters and Roach have said a rematch isn’t a possibility.

“It’s hard to get Miguel in the ring sometimes when Manny’s working, but I tell him ‘Use the ring, Manny can jump over into the corner,’” Roach said. “They’re really respectful of each other, and so forth, but sometimes I’ve got to say, ‘Come on, you guys, we’re all on the same team and we’re all doing the same things. Just work together,’ and it works out very well.”

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

This week’s title-fight schedule:

I like looking at a list of all the fighters in a given weight class top to bottom – regardless of who holds what belts. So from here forward, along with the slot given contenders by the sanctioning bodies, the positioning provided by the British-based Independent World Boxing Rankings will also be included.

SATURDAY
IBO junior welterweight title – Las Vegas, Nev.
Khabib Allakhverdiev (champion/No. 10 IWBR) vs. Jessie Vargas (No. 2 contender/No. 6 IWBR)

Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9 KO): Third title defense; Fighting in fifth U.S. state (Fla., Pa., N.J. and N.Y.)
Vargas (23-0, 9 KO): First title fight; First fight scheduled for 12 rounds
Fitzbitz says: “I like Allakhverdiev a lot, but I was disappointed enough in his last fight – against M’baye – to make me think that a talented young kid can simply outwork him.” Vargas by decision
 
Vacant IBO junior middleweight title – Brovari, Ukraine
Zaurbek Baysangurov (No. 4 contender/No. 11 IWBR) vs. Guido Pitto (No. 36 contender/No. 40 IWBR)

Baysangurov (28-1, 20 KO): Fourth title fight (3-0); Held IBO and WBO titles at 154 (2010-12)
Pitto (18-2, 7 KO): First title fight; Third fight scheduled for 12 rounds (1-1)
Fitzbitz says: “The 26-year-old challenger will get himself a vacation to Ukraine and a night or two in a nice hotel, but the prospects of him leaving with the belt are a bit more iffy.” Baysangurov in 8

WBO welterweight title – Las Vegas, Nev.
Timothy Bradley (champion/No. 2 IWBR) vs. Manny Pacquiao (No. 1 contender/No. 3 IWBR)

Bradley (31-0, 12 KO): Third title defense; Defeated Pacquiao (SD 12) in June 2012
Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO): Nineteenth title fight (14-2-2); Held titles in seven weight classes
Fitzbitz says: “Like everyone else, I thought Pacquiao won the first one. But I think Bradley’s gotten better in the intervening two years and has the right tools to keep his belt here.” Bradley by decision

Last week's picks: 2-0
2014 picks record: 20-4 (83.3 percent)
Overall picks record: 567-198 (74.1 percent)

NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder - no interim, diamond, silver, etc. Fights for WBA "world championships" are only included if no "super champion" exists in the weight class.

Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.

Tags: Freddie Roach image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by nycsmooth on 04-08-2014

Yeah,he's working 2 overcome Parkinsons, like many others out there w/this disease, aside from that, he's a vastly over-rated a** hole, IMO...I can name 5 trainers off the top of my head better than he...

Comment by Evol on 04-08-2014

i like the last part where roach says we're all the same team doing the same thing.

Comment by Evol on 04-08-2014

wtf roach has a gf???? when did this happen LOL

Comment by junior gong on 04-08-2014

Its extraordinary what he does given his condition. Tip my hat to the guy.

Comment by lutenco on 04-08-2014

Great man,his life is a great story like it or not!!!

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (5)
Top Headlines Brown on PBC: We're Giving Fans What They Want and Expect Examining the Badou Jack-Lucian Bute Scorecards Anthony Joshua-Zhang Zhilei Eyed For The Future in China? Glen Tapia Ready For David Lemieux, Feels A lot Stronger at 160 Bute Wants the Winner of DeGale-Jack Unification Fight Photos: Anthony Crolla vs. Ismael Barroso Open Workouts Examining the James DeGale-Porky Medina Scorecards Hearn Wants Joshua to Become Pay-Per-View Star in America ALA Promotions Prez: Magsayo Will Never Be Another Pacquiao De La Hoya Breaks Down Speed vs. Power Fights of The Past Curtis Stevens on The Trainer Switch To John David Jackson Team Verdejo Bring in Nutrionists, Sports Psychologists For 6/11 DeGale: I Showed Medina Levels, He Doesn't Deserve Rematch Garcia: If Golovkin Will Face Floyd at 154, Then Face Canelo at 155 Magdaleno To Apply Pressure For Nonito Donaire Title Shot Tommy Coyle Calls To Avenge Luke Campbell KO Loss Video: Hearn Talks Judging Issues in Boxing, Crolla vs. Barroso Amir Khan Followed Strict Diet Switch For Showdown With Canelo Video: Hearn Excited About Mayweather vs. Matchroom Card Shane Mosley Makes Heroic Rescue Of Baby in Freeway Wreck Video: Eddie Hearn Talks DeGale vs. Jack, Smith, More Garcia: Amir Khan Will Not Be an Easy Fight For Canelo "Fighting Words" - On Francisco Vargas’ Positive Drug Test Bute on Jack Draw: I Started Too Late Yet Again Matthysse To Sit Down With De La Hoya in Vegas, Discuss Future Mayweather, Hearn in Talks For TMT vs. Matchroom Card Video: James DeGale on Mayweather, Hearn Rift, Jack, More Video: Callum Smith Breaks Down DeGale-Medina, Jack-Bute Jack-Bute CompuBox Punch Stats Video: Badou Jack Feels Robbed, Looks To The Future Thomas Williams: I Want Adonis Stevenson Next, I Want His Belt! Mayweather's Trademark Filings Could Be Biggest Hint of Return Porky Medina: Badou Jack is Better Than James DeGale Della Rosa, Attou Battle To a Draw For Vacant EU Title Ellerbe Blasts Scoring for Badou Jack-Lucian Bute Video: James DeGale Shakes Head at Rogelio Medina Outing Bute Encouraged by Jack Draw, DeGale Loss: I'm Not Quitting Medina: I Spit at DeGale Because He Was Head Butting, Elbowing Video: Malignaggi on Mayweather, Canelo-Khan, Ward-Kovalev Video: Rogelio Medina Sounds Off on James DeGale Loss
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement