At 38, Freddie has a form of Parkinson's syndrome, but it certainly hasn't slowed him down. He's worked hard to buy and run the Wild Card. It hasn't been easy. It's one of the paradoxes of the sport today that while the gym has been a training home to fighters like Moorer and Collins, James Toney and recently even Roberto Duran, what really keeps it going are those who most conspicuously don't have to get hit but want to - or at least simulate it. On any given day there are celebrities of differing caliber hanging about - celebrity lawyers, celebrity athletes, celebrity celebrities.
On this particular afternoon an attractive 20-something (aspiring actress, I'm guessing) in spandex shorts and sports bra is punching awkwardly at the heavy bag. Her hands have been taped, just like a "real" fighter, her gloves tied, and there she is, hanging on every word her "trainer" gives her. Asked about her, Freddie just shrugs. He may see the irony in such matters, but he has a gym to run in a professional manner.
Actor Danny Trejo, who learned most of his boxing while in San Quentin, says, "There's Freddie, he looks like fucking Opie or some choir boy, but you better mind that left hook. Freddie though, he's a real gentleman."
Freddie Roach is the real deal. He has created a serious but approachable club down on luminous lower Vine Street. Go check it out - but mind the left hook.