Since 2001, Hall of Fame trainer world-famous Freddie Roach's Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California has been the training camp for boxer laureate and eight-division world champion Senator Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.
On Wednesday, amateur middleweight standout Eumir Felix Marcial, a member of the 2021 Philippines Olympic boxing team and part of Pacquiao's MP Promotions' stable of fighters, entered through the same door to meet with the seven-time Trainer of the Year. Marcial, 24, a native of Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines, and Roach will be working together in preparation for Marcial's professional debut, which will take place in a few months, and his Olympic journey inasmuch as professional fighters are now allowed to compete in the Olympic games.
"When Eumir walked through the door into the upstairs gym, I flashed back to 2001 when Manny first walked through the same door looking for someone to do mitts with him," said Roach. "Eumir and I had a great time. I told him the story of how Manny and I met and showed him the original ring where we trained for so many fights, the dressing room Manny used in the original portion of the gym, and had a nice talk about what we expected from each other. There is one difference between my first look at Manny and Eumir. Manny was fighting at 122 pounds while Eumir will be starting at 160. That's quite a difference!"
After giving Marcial and MP Promotions president Sean Gibbons the cook's tour of the top floor of Wild Card, they adjourned to the more private downstairs gym for a workout.
"We did four rounds of mitts followed by work on the heavy bag and the speed bag," said Roach. "Eumir has a lot of power and talent but we have a lot of work to do. It's a very unusual situation working on a fighter's professional debut knowing that we will be preparing for the Olympics after he turns professional. I really hope we can be the first to bring a world title and Olympic gold to the Philippines. That would be very special."
Marcial thought it was a memorable day as well.
"Freddie Roach is a boxing legend in the Philippines and to think I am now training with him…it's a dream come true," said Marcial. "I felt like I was walking in Manny's footsteps when Freddie was giving me the tour of the original part of Wild Card and telling me stories about training with Manny. To see the Philippines flag so prominently displayed made me very proud. And working out with Freddie was a great learning experience. I cannot wait to return for our next session."
Before the pandemic shut the world down, Marcial had been on a roll. He punched his ticket for the 2021 Olympics in March by winning all four of his bouts in the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualifying tournament in Amman, Jordan. Marcial was the top seed in his division. Last December, he captured the gold at the 30th Southeast Asian Games as well as the silver medal in last year's World Boxing Championships. His illustrious résumé also includes being a three-time SEA games champion.