Born in Dedham, Mass. to a boxer and a boxing judge (his mother), Freddie Roach was trained by Eddie Futch, one of the great trainers in boxing history. Now the student is in turn a greatest trainer, with a long list of champions including Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson.
He gets paid $1,000,000 every time Pacquiao fights, and has a $1 million endorsement deal with Nike. But he lives modestly in a duplex (his mom is in the other half) and not that long ago was living in a space in the gym. His Wild Card Boxing Club squats in a dingy Hollywood strip mall next to a laundromat and a "massage" parlor. Everyone pays five bucks to train.
The list of MMA fighters who have paid the five bucks include both of the sport's best - GSP and Anderson Silva. In a recent appearance on HDNet's "Inside MMA" Roach listed who in MMA has the best boxing skills.
#5. K.J. Noons
"K.J. is always in my gym and he's very dedicated with his work ethic. I just love his tenacity in the ring. He comes to fight and he's all about action."
#4. Nick Diaz
"Nick Diaz is one of the most exciting fighters in the world, today. He's great with his hands. He gets sidetracked a little bit, like in his last fight, but I think he'll a great comeback. I'm looking forward to facing him with "GSP" someday, 'cause there's a lot of talk about that."
#3. B.J. Penn
"You know, B.J., he's one of the best strikers I've ever faced, and that I've ever been in the ring with. It's been quite a few years ago, and I think he's close to retiring right now, but I'd call him the "James Toney of MMA," because his weight would fluctuate quite a bit. He'll fight from low weights to heavyweights. He'll fight anyone in the world. He's a good guy to be around, and he's just a hard, hard worker and a great striker."
#2. Georges St. Pierre
"'GSP's' one of the greatest guys in the world. He's a real gentleman and one of the best students I've ever had. I asked him, 'How long did you go home and practice in front of the mirror last night?' Because if I show him a move, he comes back with it the next day, and you know he practiced all night in front of the mirror. So, I love the guy. He's a good guy and a hard worker, and that's what it's all about it hard work."
#1 Anderson Silva
"I had the honor of working with Anderson Silva, when he was in our gym for about five or six days in a row. He told me, 'I'm pretty good at MMA, but I'm not too goo at boxing.' He's just a real humble guy and very talented. He is one of the best guys that really understands distance and timing. He fights off the ropes a little bit. I told him that can be a little bit dangerous sometimes and to be careful, but he'll suck you in, he'll set you up, he's one of the most intelligent fighters I've ever seen and have ever worked with."
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