Last week in On Freddie Roach we saw Freddie beginning his training with his most talented, and by far most popular fighter, Manny Pacquiao. This time, however, Freddie is not in Manny’s native Philippines. Instead Manny is in Hollywood at Freddie’s Wild Card Gym, and is only a few days away from his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. It was incredible to see the change in the gym once Pacquiao is there. Any other time we have seen the Wild Card is has looked like any other boxing gym, but with Manny’s presence it has an entirely different aura, and in the middle of it all is Freddie who quietly reigns over everyone else inside. Pepper is still in rough shape from his stroke but he is definitely better than he was when we last saw him. It’s still sad to see him struggling to walk around, and move objects with his left hand when we saw him in the second episode having all of his motor skills functioning properly. The thing that easily stuck with me more than anything else from this episode though, and was something I didn’t think too much of last week, is the temper of Manny Pacquiao.
I really like how Freddie’s first voice over this week was about how he runs his gym on the honor system. People come to him and explain that they are kind of short that month and will be able to pay him the next month, and whenever they ask if it’s okay for them to still train, Freddie never tells them no. About 5 or 10 minutes after Freddie tells us this, and in the middle of Pacquiao’s media day, Freddie has to step outside for a moment to speak with Vince Phillips who is a former light welterweight champion as well as former trainer at the gym. Vince apparently owes Freddie a lot of money and has come to talk with him about it. They never reach any conclusions or even discuss anything in particular but Freddie remains extremely calm and handles the situation with a completely cool head. Vince inappropriately patted a 14 years old girls butt during a training session and this girl is now threatening to sue Freddie and his gym. Vince claims there was nothing sexual or inappropriate and claims it was merely a greeting between athletes. Freddie doesn’t argue with Vince about that, or anything he says to defend himself for that matter, but instead simply tells him how it is. Freddie has every reason to go off on Vince and I think any person in Freddie’s situation would have done just that, but he doesn’t. He only talks for a minute and then says goodbye.
As I said in the first paragraph, the thing that stuck with me the most from this episode was by far, the temper of Manny Pacquiao. It is something that we never actually see ourselves, and I have never seen it outside of this series it and when it came up last time I honestly thought nothing of it. Last week, when Freddie first arrived at the gym in the Philippines someone asked him where Manny was, and if he had congressman stuff keeping him busy that morning. Freddie explained that the reason was that they were afraid to wake Manny up. Freddie told the man that if Manny didn’t wake up naturally or on his own he would get very upset and try to fight whoever it was trying to awaken him. At the time I thought that he was probably just joking. People probably were afraid to wake him up, but because he was Manny Pacquiao not because he would flip out. Apparently this was no joke, because this week’s episode ended with a man, who was never named, telling Freddie, on the day of Marquez fight about what took place the night before. Apparently Jeff Ariza, Manny’s strength and conditioning coach, came into Pacquiao’s hotel room and told him that he needed to go to bed. At the time Pacquiao was on the phone and told Jeff that he would go to sleep eventually. About half an hour went by and Manny was still on the phone, so Jeff came in and told him once again to go to sleep. Manny gave Jeff the same response so Jeff made a comment along the lines of “that’s what Mike Tyson said the night before Buster Douglas knocked him out.” This comment sent Manny over the edge, and was proceeded by him throwing the phone at Jeff as well as tables, chairs and basically anything else in the hotel room that wasn’t nailed down. He then told his guards that if they let Jeff back in, that he (Manny Pacquiao) would kill them (the guards) himself. After the man tells Freddie this story, we see his face filled with concern with only a few hours before the fight starts, and then the credits roll. Manny has always presented himself as an extremely nice and carrying individual and it is almost impossible to picture him acting this way but this is obviously not the first time he has done something like this.