Freddie Roach, as history tells it, spent 20 years intensely training as a boxer from the tender age of six before retiring and easing into his career as a boxing trainer. After so many years of actively boxing as a competitor, Freddie’s fundamental skills were, of course, razor-sharp. But, what makes Freddie Roach arguably the greatest combat sports trainer of all time is his ability to see—and to train his fighters to see—the bigger, global picture of the fight. He trains his fighters to go beyond their sharp fundamentals, avoiding being overly focused on the blow-by-blow and minute-by-minute action, and instead seeing a much broader picture and game plan for each fighter’s opponent that Freddie would relentlessly drill into their heads leading up to the fight.
A smelly boxing gym may seem like an unlikely place to start a story about thinking like a lawyer, but I’m not one to follow the conventional storytelling crowd. Most contemporary fans know Freddie Roach as the man behind Manny Pacquiao’s legacy, but Freddie has made a long career of being a Kingmaker in boxing. Over the years, he has seen more than 20 of his athletes crowned champions, including Mike Tyson and Oscar De La Hoya. Freddie’s philosophy and track record illustrate an important point: Most professional boxers have the tools to play the game. But, becoming a champion isn’t simply about executing perfect fundamentals and formulas, trading each punch with a counterpunch. The key is to understand the bigger picture of what you are trying to accomplish. That is Freddie’s secret sauce. That is his sweet science.