Manny Pacquiao, Freddie Roach and Some of the Best Boxer-Trainer Combos Ever

John HeinisSenior Analyst IJanuary 24, 2011

Manny Pacquiao, Freddie Roach and Some of the Best Boxer-Trainer Combos Ever

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    To be a great boxer, certainly great dedication, heart, tenacity, and discipline are necessary internal traits to be successful at any level. 

    Being a natural athlete with a high tolerance for pain does not hurt, either. 

    Nevertheless, someone can put all the blood, sweat, and tears they want into the gym and into the ring, but without a great trainer, their ceiling of success is only so high. 

    This slideshow is to pay tribute to some of the best boxer/trainer combinations on the professional level. 

    Let us take a look at who made the cut.  

Manny Pacquiao/Freddie Roach

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    One glance at the title of this slideshow made it no secret that these two would have some space in here. 

    There is really no argument that Roach is one of the greatest trainers of all time.  He has not only been inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame, but has also received the 2008 World Boxing Council (WBC) “Lifetime Achievement Award.” 

    Roach is currently best known as the trainer of eight-time division world champion Manny Pacquiao; who also has not lost a fight in almost six years. 

    “Master Roach” has trained a laundry list of tremendous fighters far too long to list, but some standouts include Oscar De La Hoya, Mike Tyson, the Klitschko brothers, and current UFC champions Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre. 

    A lesser known fact is that despite retiring at age 26, Roach built up a respectable 40-13 (15 KOs) record in his short professional career.  

Floyd Mayweather, Jr./ Roger Mayweather

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    While Roger Mayweather has focused his training career on developing his nephew Floyd “Money” Mayweather, he has been responsible for molding one of the pound-for-pound greats. 

    As just about everyone reading this knows, “Pretty Boy” Floyd boasts a very rarely seen 41-0 (25 KO’s) record, and is a five-division world champion over the course of his 15-year career.

    Say what you will about Mayweather ducking fighters in recent years, he is bar none one of the best defensive, counter-punching fighters the sport has ever seen. 

Thomas Hearns/Emmanuel Steward

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    Steward, a 1963 Golden Gloves champion at bantamweight, has been highly regarded in the sport for decades now. 

    Currently training Miguel Cotto, Chad Dawson, and Wladimir Klitschko, Hearns began to turn heads by transforming Thomas Hearns into one of the most devastating knockout punchers the sport has ever seen in the 1980s.

    Not really known as a power puncher early in his career, Hearns finished his career 61-5-1, winning an astonishing 48 fights by way of knockout. 

    Steward is also widely credited for turning Lennox Lewis from a contender to an upper-echelon talent.  

Antonio Tarver/Buddy McGirt

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    No longer a particularly prominent name in the sport, McGirt was actually named the Trainer of the Year by Boxing Writers Association of America in 2002. 

    One of his greatest successes was when he worked with former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver. 

    Under the tutelage of McGirt, Tarver secured two quality victories over Roy Jones, Jr. the first of which allowed him to hold the light heavyweight title within eight different boxing organizations. 

    McGirt was also training Vernon Forest when he beat Sergio Mora, and also played a hand in Arturo Gatti defeating Thomas Damgaard.

Michael Moorer/Teddy Atlas

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    While Atlas seemed more like a WWE manager then a boxing trainer at times, it is hard to argue that he and Moorer teamed up to do big things in the early to mid 90s. 

    Moorer, one of the most talented heavyweights in his day, defeated Evander Holyfield in 1994 to win both the IBF and WBA title belts. 

    Atlas led Moorer to a 5-1 record during their partnership, and funny enough, Moorer got decimated by Holyfield in their rematch.   

    This was the first match for Moorer after he fired Atlas, replacing him with fellow legend Freddie Roach. 

    Always controversial, it would still be unfair to not include Atlas in the discussion of quality boxing trainers.  

Joe Lewis/Jack Blackburn

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    A blast from the past entry, Louis retired in 1951.  Nevertheless, a great deal of fans reading this piece are surely familiar with the “Brown Bomber,”

    From 1937 to 1948, Louis successfully defended the World Heavyweight title a ridiculous 25 times, a record that still stands today. 

    His title reign of 11 years and 10 months has also stood the test of time, and it’s worth noting that Louis relinquished the belt at this time, since he felt it was time to retire. 

    He went 7-2 in his fights after his pseudo retirement, and finished his career with an unheard of 65-3 (51 KO’s) record. 

    In helping develop one of the most dominant champions the sport has ever seen, Blackburn was eventually inducted into the World Boxing, as well as the International Boxing, Hall of Fame. 

Joe Frazier/Eddie Futch

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    Many regard Freddie Roach as the best trainer around today, so it is nearly impossible not to give credit to his mentor, Eddie Futch.

    Futch trained “Smokin’” Joe Frazier from 1966 until 1981, basically his entire professional career, including when Frazier delivered Muhammed Ali his first loss as a pro during “The Fight of the Century” in 1971. 

    Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, and Trevor Berbick also had guidance from Futch at different points in their career, and all three men also notched victories over Ali. 

    Known for being an expert at the fundamentals of the sport, Futch also led Riddick Bowe to defeat Evander Holyfield, and helped Montell Griffin to upset Roy Jones Jr. 

    Prior to Futch’s death in 2001, Roach went on the record calling Futch “the greatest trainer in the world.”

Muhammad Ali/Angelo Dundee

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    Dundee worked with Ali from 1960 until 1981, the overwhelming majority of Ali’s professional career.

    Of course, Ali is widely considered the greatest boxer of all time, with a 56-5 (37 KOs) record and three heavyweight title reigns.

    Dundee also found success in the corner of Sugar Ray Leonard, most notably guiding him to a pair of wins over Thomas Hearns; granted, the second match was quite controversial. 

    George Foreman, Jimmy Ellis and even Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 have taken at advantage of what Dundee had to offer as a trainer and a consultant. 

    Dundee was enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.  

Oscar De La Hoya/Floyd Mayweather, Sr.

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    Some may be tired of seeing the name “Mayweather” on this list, but it is hard to deny what the Pretty Boy’s father has done as a trainer, personal issues aside. 

    De La Hoya went 6-2 with Mayweather in his corner, including consecutive wins over Arturo Gatti and Javier Castillejo in 2001.  The latter was for the WBC Super Welterweight title.

    The elder Mayweather of course is also responsible for his son’s success, allegedly teaching him how to punch when he was a toddler. 

    Despite an eight-year falling out from 2000 through 2008, Mayweather Sr. helped contribute to his son’s first title reign as the WBC super featherweight champion in 1998. 

    He also won the Manager of the Year honor from the Boxing Writers Association of America in the same year. 

    Mayweather Sr. just recently delved into the world of MMA, beginning to train highly regarded lightweight BJ Penn. 

Evander Holyfield/Lou Duva

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    Duva signed Holyfield to his company Main Events in 1984, named Manager of the Year by the American Boxing Writers Association in 1985, and saw Holyfield win his first title, the WBA Cruiserweight belt.

    Holyfield eventually won the IBF, WBA, and WBC heavyweight titles after knocking out James “Buster” Douglas in their 1990 bout. 

    Duva has trained with a laundry list of champions besides Holyfield over the years, including Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis and Hector Camacho. 

    For his contributions to the sport, Duva received an induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1998.