Roach now a ‘son’ of Gensan

Edwin G. Espejo
Members of the General Santos city council cite Freddie Roach’s role in the phenomenal rise of Pacquiao.

SON OF GENSAN. General Santos City council formally recognizes the role of coach Freddie Roach in molding Manny Pacquiao into a champion boxer. Photo by Edwin Espejo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Boxing coach Freddie Roach, who molded Manny Pacquiao into one of the world’s top boxers, has been adopted a ‘son’ of General Santos City.

In a resolution passed Tuesday morning, Nov 3 during the 17th regular session of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, members of the city council cited Roach’s role in the phenomenal rise of Pacquiao.

Roach took Pacquiao under his wing in 2001 and steered Pacquiao into winning his second world boxing crown when the latter knocked out Lehlo Ledwaba of South Africa for the International Boxing Federation super bantamweight title in the sixth round.

Pacquiao and Roach’s partnership have spanned more than 12 years and six more world championships in as many divisions, making Pacquiao the only boxer to win world boxing championships in eight different weight classes.

Sponsored by Pacquiao’s longtime lawyer and councilor Franklin Gacal Jr, the resolution made the 53-year old coach, the most recognizable foreigner in the city today.

Roach is in town for the final leg of Pacquiao’s training and has been deluged by fans eager to have pictures taken with him.

CHAMPION COACH. Freddie Roach strikes a pose with city council members of General Santos. Photo by Russell Delvo

He often roams around SM City Gensan, just across Pacquiao’s Wild Card Gym named after the American’s LA gym where Pacquiao met Roach. (WATCH: Pacquiao’s road to redemption: The comeback)

This is the first time since 2005 that Pacquiao did not train in Roach’s gym in Los Angeles.

Roach has trained several world boxing champions but it is his relationship with Pacquiao that earned him Coach of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America, in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Roach was present when the city council passed the resolution.

It was also covered by HBO which is doing a 24/7 special on Pacquiao’s return to the ring against Brandon Rios on November 24 in Macau. –

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