Friday, June 14, 2024  |


Freddie Roach leads Manny Pacquiao into a new battle – versus ALS

Trainer Freddie Roach (left) and his star pupil Manny Pacquiao
Fighters Network

“Dedham” Freddie Roach has been like a proud papa, with his guy, WBA welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao looking so very stellar in his most recent outing against Keith Thurman.

But of course, real life does interject itself into the trainer’s psyche now and again…but he doesn’t wallow. Roach is inclined to find smart solutions to hard-pressing problems.

Such as: Roach, based in L.A., has a pal who has ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a progressive neurogenerative disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. So he’s now putting forth a push to raise funds to combat the pernicious foe. On Wednesday, I asked Roach about this current fight.

“During our last training camp, Manny and I had more than one fight on our mind as we prepared for Keith Thurman,” Roach said. “We were also thinking about a longtime friend and beloved staffer at ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ who was responsible for booking Manny on the popular late-night talk show nine times, beginning in 2009. Manny’s friend at Jimmy Kimmel Live! has been diagnosed with ALS, a disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, weakening muscles and impacting physical function. In support of our friend and of others in his situation, we found out that the staff at Jimmy Kimmel Live! was spearheading an initiative to fund ALS research and the needs of patients diagnosed with this devastating disease. It’s called the ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live! ALS Charity Initiative.’ Here is what Manny told me”:

“I am so grateful to my friend at Jimmy Kimmel Live!, who, as a stranger at first, took a big chance by booking my first appearance and introducing me to Jimmy and his massive American audience,” Pacquiao shared via Roach. “Because of him and Jimmy, millions of non-boxing fan viewers got to meet me and even hear me sing. I guess you can blame him for that too!

“Over the years, he and Jimmy have been gracious to invite me back many more times. I dedicated my fight against Keith Thurman to my friend and to ALS awareness. I also donated the trunks I wore in that fight to the online auction that is benefiting several ALS-related organizations.”

Some good news – those trunks raised $24,750 last month.

“We have all become close with our friend at Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” the Massachusetts native continued. “He has visited us numerous times at Wild Card Boxing Club. I joined Manny by donating a private training session and one of every shirt style from the current inventory of the Wild Card Boxing Club store, which I will personally sign.

This link will take you to the auction website.

My three cents: Props to the 59-year-old disciple of Eddie Futch, a seven-time Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year. It is easy to stay in one’s own lane, just keep grinding and not pay attention to some of life’s harsher realities. However with this effort, Roach is doing what he can to help out and work to better the lives of people who are diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. As of now, there is no cure and the goal of doctors is to at least ease and alleviate symptoms.



You can follow Michael Woods on Twitter @Woodsy1069.




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