You come from a family of boxers. Have you always been eager to follow your father’s shuttling footsteps?
My dad wanted us to be all fighters, so my brothers and I all boxed. I didn’t like the boxing when I first started, though. I did it to please my father.
I grew up in the projects in Boston. My father taught us not to back down and not be scared of anybody. If you fight one Roach, you’ll fight us all. If we didn’t have anyone to fight with, we fight with each other. We were very competitive kids.
So what seriously hooked you into the sport?
Later on in life, I enjoyed it and I got a little better. I fought professionally for 10 years and had 150 anateur fights and 54 pro fights. I fought three world champions then I won the title.
How do you take your losses?
I never go into a fight thinking my guy can’t win. So I take it personally. A lot of people say it’s the fighter’s fault. But the trainer always gets blamed anyway.
Who’s the easiest to train in your stable?
Pacquiao. Manny’s dedication couldn’t be denied. He has great work ethic and is a great model for any fighter in the world. The thing is, when he’s not training for fights, I do know he has a tendency to do it up a little bit. But he’s a kid, you know. I did it when I was a kid, but his activities were more publicized than mine.
Tyson was probably a little more difficult project than most. But you know what, Michael Moorer was a little worse than Tyson. Moorer was the guy who hated boxing but he was just so good at it. He doesn’t want to work at all so you have to really trick him and play mind games. At least Mike liked boxing. It’s hard to get Mike’s trust though.
What’s your biggest boxing related regret?
Right now, I have Parkinson’s disease. I was diagnosed in 1990. I take medication three times a day and I have tremors a little bit on my left side. But I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. I don’t blame boxing because I chose it.
Interview: Jasmine Magpayo
Photography: Erick Lirios