Perhaps the most famous trainer in the world, Freddie Roach has been a polarizing figure and key contributor to the rise of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
The owner of the famous Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood has cemented his legacy by providing tutelage to over 20 world champions. He has been named on five separate occasions as trainer of the year.Roach has also been doing so while battling Parkinson's disease.
This Friday HBO will take a closer look into Freddie Roach's life on a new series titled: " On Freddie Roach".
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Freddie and speak to him about this personal yet triumphant experience. Here's what he had to say:
CraveOnline: Were you at all hesitant to do the show? And if so what made you decide to do it?
Freddie Roach: They ran the idea past me and I thought about it little while. I always wanted to be a little bit famous and I tell people to be careful what they wish for and now(Laughing)..they just wanted to know if I could open up and just let them really in my life. You know I do that on 24/7. I had a little practice. I don't mind the cameras being around me. So I said yes. The thing is with Jim Lampley and Peter Berg helping out I knew it would be a very well done show and that's basically what was very important to me. That it doesn't come off as a cheesy reality show or something like that. It comes from my life and how I live it everyday. It gives the people an inside look at what we go through everyday at the gym and what I go through my life everyday.
CraveOnline: How was the experience of waking up in the morning with cameras immediately focused on you?
Freddie Roach: You know it's a little bit difficult sometimes. Sometimes I'd tell them to go home and they would. They became my friends and I had a great crew. I gave them full access to my life and from waking up in the morning to going to bed at 11 o'clock at night. You know, falling asleep while the cameras are still there then having to get up and lock the door. It is a bit intrusive and so forth but that was part of the choice I made that when I decided to do this, I was going to do it fully. I didn't want to half ass it. I wanted to give the show what we do everyday. They followed me from the Ukraine to the Philippines to the Olympic training center so we got a broad look at what I do for a living.
CraveOnline: How long did they film you for?
Freddie Roach: One year.
CraveOnline: Oh wow. Have you seen any of the episodes yet?
Freddie Roach: I saw the first two at the premier. They had a showing in LA and one in New York. I saw the first two episodes. I'm very happy with what they come up with. It's deep, it's sad at moments. It brought tears to my eyes sometimes when bad things happen and it brought a smile to my face when good things happen. I think they did a real nice job and they asked me if I wanted to see the four other episodes before they go on the air and I said no I'll just wait because I'm kinda anxious to see them and I think the first two episodes are going to make you want to see more. We have an interesting place here in the gym. There's a lot of characters in the gym as every boxing gym has. They bring out the best in all of us I think.
CraveOnline: Do you think those first two episodes you saw are going to show us a side of you we haven't witnessed before?
Freddie Roach: I'm already been criticized for that be a couple of reporters in New York. They never saw that dark side of me before and I said "Well everyone has a dark side." When you get mad what do you do? When I get mad I yell at somebody.
I wanna fix what I'm mad about and what went wrong. I don't like when things go wrong and things are out of place, I get pissed off. Usually my sister Marie who's probably the closest one to me cause she's with me all the time and she gets blamed for a lot of the things that go wrong. But she fixes a lot of things that go wrong so I apologize after awhile. But she does get yelled at sometimes. People see that dark side and you know It's not the nicest side of me. I wish I wasn't so mean at times but I do have a mean streak and it shows on the show.
CraveOnline: Let's talk about the ongoing saga of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Floyd called out Manny of twitter to face him on the fifth of May. It seems like a lot of the media has begun to question Manny's stance on the possible mega fight. What's your stance?
Freddie Roach: Well, we've been chasing him for two years and so forth and the thing is he gets a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card in Vegas and wants to fight on his date. The thing is nobody is talking about negotiations. Nobody knows what the spilt is. Does he want 50/50 spilt? Does he want a 70/30 spilt? There's a lot of things that go along with calling somebody out. There's a lot of negotiations of course. Just cause he called Manny out doesn't really mean that much but at least it's a positive sign that that fight will happen. That's what I'm excited about. I want that fight to happen as badly as you do or anyone in the world. I think the sooner the better for me. Give me eight weeks , I'll get Manny one hundred percent. The thing is I haven't heard back from Arum or Manny yet. I'm not really involved with the negotiations of fights. My job is to get Manny ready for whoever they choose. I want that fight to happen and again the sooner the better. If that fight was eight weeks from today I'd get Manny ready and we would finally get to see the biggest fight in the world. We need that fight and I hope it happens soon. Is that the best date? Is it enough time to promote a fight? There's a lot of questions that go with to being called out.
CraveOnline: Who are you guys targeting next if not Mayweather?
Freddie Roach: Arum did give me..before Floyd called us out , before he got his "Get Out Of Jail Free" card from vegas we were considering Cotto, Bradley, Peterson or Margarito. One of those four and he asked me what I want and I said Peterson might be the best fight for Manny. He's a tough guy that comes in. It'd be a very action fight. I said let me know what Manny says and we'll go from there. We were in negotiations with those four fighters and how far along are they? I'm not sure. There aren't any contracts to sign, that's for sure but I'm not sure if we're obligated or not. We do have that June date and if Mayweather is in the running I'm going to pick him every time cause that's who I want to fight and he's a challenge and I like challenges.
CraveOnline: Recently you partnered up with the US Olympic Committee to ensure top prospects participating in the 2012 games in London get the best training available. How important is this deed to you and your legacy?
Freddie Roach: It's important to me for the kids. When I went to the Olympic center there was some difficultly with the coaches because we don't agree on training methods. We have different systems and so forth. I have a successful system that works and it's been proven. I've been just having a hard time getting everyone onboard. Me and Barry Hunter and the other assistant coaches came to help out and we're very passionate about these guys doing better. We want them to get the best they can but we don't feel like as coaches we've given them to opportunity to work as hard as they wanted to. I am still involved and I am looking forward to going back to the Olympic training center. I do have a couple of training camps here at the Wild Card also. The kids will be coming down here and working out also and getting a feel for a gym with a lot of energy and a lot of action.
CraveOnline: Alright thanks so much Freddie. I'm looking forward to the show on Friday.
Freddie Roach: Thanks a lot man, I hope you enjoy it.
Be sure to check out our exclusive preview videos of HBO Sport's new documentary, On Freddie Roach.
On Freddie Roach premieres this Friday night (9:30 -10:00 p.m ET/PT) on HBO.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS