We all see Freddie Roach as the voice of Manny Pacquiao’s training camp. He is the one that is stirring the pot and talking the trash leading up to this Mayweather fight and we often wonder why he continues to talk or disregard what he says as nonsense. Well some of it is but behind those words are supreme confidence; the confidence of a man who pours his life into boxing and his fighters.
In an interview with Telegraph Sport Roach speaks about his personal struggles with Parkinson’s disease and how boxing gets him through his darkest days.
“I don’t get sick too often. When I’m sick, I just go to the gym and it goes away. With Parkinson’s, sometimes you wake up and think: ‘Why the f— did they pick me?’ But, you know, that’s part of life. Some of the medications do cause depression and so forth and some mornings I’ll think about bad things. But then I’ll go to the gym and go to work and everything bad goes away.”
Roach went on to elaborate on what he called “bad thoughts:”
“I have a new neurologist and I told him that sometimes I think about killing myself. He asked me why and I said: ‘It’s just f—— difficult sometimes dealing with this s—’. He said maybe I should see a psychologist. I said: ‘Doc, I’m just kidding. I might think about it but I would never hurt myself. I am not that brave.’ ”
“I had a lot of questions after Robin Williams, the actor who had Parkinson’s and had a lot of other problems, killed himself.”
“I’m on the same medications that he was on. The medicine helps in a bad way. You go to training camp and you’re in this little hotel room for several weeks – you think about jumping out the window some days. But that would hurt too much if I got the landing wrong. I’m just killing time. I’m not going to hurt myself. I have to convince my neurologist that I’m not that sort of person.”
Instances such as these remind us that the people that we read about/watch on television aren’t scripted characters. Freddie Roach lives a real life. A life with struggles and trials, a life that he is sometimes overwhelmed by and considers bringing to an end.
But something as simple as boxing keeps him going. It gives him a reason to wake up every morning and live the life he has to the fullest. It is a lesson that we should all take with us. Nothing, not even our bodies, can stop us from achieving greatness when we put our mind to it.
You can think what you want about Freddie Roach personally but you can’t deny his dedication and courage. He is one of the best trainers in the world despite having a debilitating disease for over 23 years. That alone should be enough to make everyone respect Freddie Roach the person.