The fighter-trainer relationship is among the most iconic in sports. As the ring warrior undergoes the painful and arduous journey of preparing for combat, the trainer is his constant companion, guiding and motivating, part coach and part drill sergeant. The intense, one-on-one nature of the relationship means that often the most successful trainers become synonymous with their fighters.
So it has become with Freddy Roach and his most famous charge, Manny Pacquiao. As Pacman's star has ascended to fabulous heights over the past decade, Roach's has risen right alongside it. He has become the most sought-out and recognizable trainer in the sport, even crossing over to the exploding mixed martial arts scene, where his clients have included UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
It is a reputation that is well deserved. In Pacquiao, he took an undersized fighter with an explosive left hand and little else and has turned him into a well-rounded, multiple division world champion and somebody who gets mentioned in all-time, pound-for-pound discussions.
Roach's entire life would seem to have pointed him in this direction. A respectable lightweight contender with a 40-13 (15) professional record, Roach himself was trained by the legendary Eddie Futch (who will appear later on this list).
Roach, who also trained actor Mickey Rourke during Rourke's Quixotic pro boxing career, owns the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. Beyond Pacquiao, he trains an extensive roster of fighters, including junior welterweight champion Amir Khan and current WBC middleweight belt holder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
But as he prepares Pacquiao for his November clash with Juan Manuel Marquez, a boxer who has already fought the Filipino Congressman for 24 nip and tuck rounds, there is no doubt that his attention will be firmly placed on coming up with a plan for beating the rugged three-division Mexican champ.