Thursday, March 30, 2023  |


Roach steamed over video poking fun at his Parkinson’s

Fighters Network

Freddie Roach was not pleased to see a video on which Antonio Margarito, Brandon Rios and Robert Guerrero poked fun at his Pakinson's disease. Roach is pictured here speaking at the final news conference before Manny Pacquiao fights Antonio Margarito on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank

ARLINGTON, Texas – Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, said he was so angry Tuesday when he saw
the video of Antonio Margarito, gym mate Brandon Rios and trainer Robert Garcia poking fun at his Parkinson’s disease, that he could barely sleep that night.

Garcia also was shown with a large metal weight on hand and joking that Roach had better watch out, his way of making light of the hand-wrap incident that cost Margarito his license for a year.

Margarito, Rios and Garcia apologized at the final news conference before the fight on Saturday but Roach remained unmoved.

“They made fun of me,” Roach said before the apology. “It shows what kind of guys they are. I didn’t want to bring it up because I don’t want it to bother Manny. I don’t want him to get mad and fight stupid. He can’t do that. We have a good game plan and I want him to stick to it. They made fun of me. It’s OK. They’ll pay for it. I’m not worried.

“ÔǪ The thing is, this is something boxers can get because it’s trauma related. They’re [Margarito and Rios] are in this sport and they don’t have good defenses. I just hope it doesn’t happen to them. I hope they don’t have to live my life.”

Margarito is shown in the video shaking his hands and cocking his head, apparently mimicking those with Parkinson's, and says, “Ohhhhhh, Freddie Roach.” Garcia then says, “That's Freddie Roach right there,” and points to Rios. Rios then cocks and shakes his head and says, “Manny Pacquiao.”

The trio, well aware that Margarito could ill afford another public relations hit, went into damage-control mode by expressing regret at the news conference.

Garcia, known as one of boxing’s good guys, apologized for his fighters — but not himself — during the formal portion of the news conference and then took more responsibility while speaking to reporters afterward.

He said he and his fighters didn’t mean to poke fun at something as serious as Parkinson’s. They were merely trying to play head games with Roach, who is a master of the same. Roach has said openly that he believes Margarito knew about the illegal wraps that were discovered in his wraps before he fought Shane Mosley and has repeatedly said that Margarito should be banned for life.

And Garcia claims that he and his fighters somehow didn’t even know that Roach had Parkinson’s. He said they assumed his condition was the result of brain trauma that is more typical in boxing, as if it would be OK to poke fun at that.

“It happened,” Garica said. “I can’t do anything about it now. That’s why I apologized. It wasn’t right. I feel bad about it. We never meant to make fun of him or anyone else with Parkinson’s disease. That’s not me. People know I don’t talk bad about anyone.”

Rios, apparently a bit shaken by the incident, also acknowledges that he and the others crossed a line.

“Freddie Roach is always playing mind games,” he said. “We were just trying to play mind games with him. That’s all. It had nothing to do with Parkinson’s disease. I have people in my family who are handicapped. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone like that.

“I know it looks bad. And I’m sorry. I made a mistake.”

Margarito said through a translator that he wasn't making reference to Roach's condition at all.

“I was not making fun of Freddie,” he said, “… When I was shaking my hands, I was just saying, ‘Man, I'm really scared.’ I think that people misunderstood that. That’s what happened.

“It was a misunderstanding. I have nothing against anybody. I have nothing against Freddie Roach. I respect him as a great trainer.”

Roach rolled his eyes when Garcia expressed regret while both were on the dais during the news conference. And afterward he made it clear that he didn’t buy the explanation of his rival trainer.

“He didn’t know I had Parkinson’s? Please,” he said. “It wasn't an apology; it was a cover up.”

Roach also took exception to Garcia making light of his the hand-wrap scandal by placing the metal on his hand, which he said hurts the sport. Javier Capetillo, Margarito's former trainer, placed the illegal pads in the fighter's wraps. Garcia was hired later on.

“It’s like they’re saying, ‘We got caught doing something but we’re still here fighting,'” he said. “I think that shows their character. I don’t think they’re a good group of people. At one time I thought Margarito was a good guy. Not now.

“ÔǪ It’s a slap in the face to boxing. It’s bad for the sport. I don’t think it’s funny.”

Roach told reporters that he’ll never speak to Margarito, Rios or Garcia again, which caught Garcia off guard. He was asked about Roach's comments and paused before responding.

“That’s his business,” Garcia said. “I apologized for what my fighters did. I haven’t apologized to Freddie personally because right now we’re enemies. I want to win this fight and he wants to win. But after the fight, I’ll go up to Freddie Roach and apologize to him. I’ll give him all the respect I’ve always given him.

“Do I regret this? Definitely.”