Boxing Writers Association of America seven-time trainer of the year winner Freddie Roach said his long-term relationship with Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao as his student for 14 years is better than any medicine that treats his serious illness.
Roach, 55, who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, on Sunday said he is not bothered by his illness ever since he trained Pacquiao, who is preparing for the biggest fight of his life against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada.
“Physical therapy is the best way to treat Parkinson’s and the workout I get from Manny is better than any medicine,” Roach told The Manila Times in an email interview relayed by Top Rank Promotion publicist Fred Sternburg. “I’m okay and fine.”
Parkinson’s disease, which affects the nervous system (brain and nerves), gradually gets worse over time, resulting in symptoms of stiffness, tremors, slow movements and trouble with walking.
It is said to be common to athletes. particularly boxers.
Roach, who was trained by legendary boxi ng trainer Eddie Futch as a professional lightweight boxer, praised the eighth-weight world division titleholder Pacquiao for being the best-ever student in his entire career as a boxing trainer.
“We have been together for 14 years–longer than many marriages. He has been a great student, a greater friend and a credit to boxing. Manny is truly the best,” he said.
Roach retired from professional boxing in 1986 before becoming an assistant trainer of Futch.
He became a full-time trainer and boxing coach in 1991.
Roach, who already produced 27 world boxing champions, admitted that no boxers in the world until now has accomplished what Pacquiao has accomplished–eight-division world champion, ten world titles, and as well as the first to win the lineal championship in four different weight class.
“No one in boxing has accomplished what Manny has.”
When asked if he was surprised by those accomplishments, Roach said, “Of course. Who would have thought a former flyweight champion would win so many titles in record-number of weight divisions and be named Fighter of the Decade?”