LAS VEGAS (AFP) – Freddie Roach, the trainer who has prepared Manny Pacquiao to step into the ring against Floyd Mayweather for the biggest fight of his life, wages his own constant war against Parkinson’s Disease.
The strategy in his personal battle is simple, Roach said Thursday.
“The first thing is not to lay down and die,’’ he said.
It’s not always easy, however.
He keeps up with hand-eye coordination exercises that help keep the disease at bay.
But as Pacquiao’s long-awaited showdown with Mayweather loomed, Roach told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper last week that the effects of the illness – and the medication used to keep it in check – had contributed to suicidal thoughts.
The best way he’s found to battle them is work, and none has been more fulfilling than his time with Pacquiao.
The seven-time winner of US boxing’s Trainer of the Year award has seen it all as a cornerman to the world’s greatest fighters.
But his partnership with Pacquiao has added an extra dimension to his Hall of Fame career.
They teamed up in 2001, when little-known Pacquiao needed a place to train in the United States and tried Roach’s modest Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
Roach was surprised that when he asked to see tape of Pacquiao fighting, Pacman produced video of two knockout defeats.
Roach asked him why and Pacquiao told him simply “it’s part of my life.’’