Mark’s on the convention trail right now and didn’t have time for this week’s post, and since I dread the idea of missing two straight days (tsk tsk Arto… if only I had another weird photo of you!), I’m going to step in and throw together a 10-minute post about a name that just came to my attention.
In honor of Saturday’s pay per view fight between Emmanuel Dapidran “Manny” Pacquiao (husband of Jinkee, who gets mentioned a lot on this blog) and Brandon Rios, I was reading some coverage about Pacquiao’s legendary trainer Freddie Roach.
Freddie Roach owns the famous Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood, which boasts at least 20 former world champions. The gym is open to the public, which and makes me really embarrassed about the fact that I’ve never once been there.
Perhaps if I had, I would have run into one of its more famous employees, Freddie’s brother Dominic Pepen “Pepper” Roach.
Pepper is the best-named member of a famous boxing family. His father Paul was New England Featherweight champion and had 33 wins as a professional. In addition to Freddie (who had 40 wins before age 25), Pepper had another brother, Joey, who went 8-3 in his pro career. Pepper fought to a respectable 7-2 pro record, which is 7 more wins than I have in my distinguished pro boxing career.
The “Fighting Roach Brothers” were a fixture in the New England amateur boxing scene, and each went on to a winning professional career. It was a very different era – Freddie, who fought in 53 fights including two world title bouts, never made more than $7500 in a fight. Therefore, the fighting Roach brothers had to work odd jobs to make ends meet before settling in Los Angeles and making the Wild Card Gym the institution that it is.
Joey tragically passed away of a heart attack a few years ago at age 47, and Pepper experienced a stroke in 2011, but quickly recovered and returned to training. It’s hard to keep an old fighter down.
You go, Pepper!