Episode 2 of "On Freddie Roach" brings us right into the every day life of Roach at the Wild Card Gym. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Episode 1 of "On Freddie Roach" introduced us to the life of boxing's best trainer, a man who is hampered every day by the effects of Parkinson's disease. If the first episode was to be titled, it may have called "An Introduction". Keeping with the theme, the second episode would likely be dubbed "A Day in the Life", however, it wasn't just a normal day for Roach.
In the first episode, we didn't see too much of Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. We saw him working with Amir Khan ahead of his fight against Zab Judah, and we followed Roach all the way to Khan's victory in Las Vegas. Almost the entire second episode, however, takes place at the gym. One might think that a high profile trainer like Roach would only concentrate on his big money, high profile fighters. And while its certain that Roach values those clients, he also runs his gym like an everyman.
We're introduced to the people that surround Roach's every day life. Shane "Canada" Langford is a trainer at the gym, and we see him overlooking two young fighters who are only deemed "boxers" because they're in a ring and wearing gloves. Then there's Roach's brother Pepper, and we learn that he, like Roach, was a fighter. At the outset of the episode, we learn from a Roach voiceover that his whole family grew up on fighting, namely because his father was one, both in and out of the ring. Freddie paints a grim picture of his familial upbringing, one in which he had to stick up for his mother who would get the biggest brunt of his father's beatings. Yet the family followed in their father's footsteps, and the tradition continues as Pepper continues to train fighters as well.
We're shown Pepper working the mitts with a rather large man who looks about as far away from a professional fighter as you could look (although with the state of the heavyweight division, who could fault the guy for dreaming?). The bulk of the episode centers around later in the day, when Pepper suffers a stroke. Roach plays the leader, as he does inside the gym with fighters, keeping Pepper from moving too much and arranging for an ambulance to be called. The ambulance finally comes, and Freddie is quick to have someone inform Pepper's wife that he's on his way to the hospital. He believes Pepper should stop taking shots from fighters in the abdomen and chest when he trains them, and he's clearly unsettled by his brother's attack. But Roach is still at the gym, and there's work to be done. He hops into the ring to work with a fighter, and once he gets home for the night, he pops in a DVD and does some film study.
It's easy sometimes to glamorize boxing, when we see faces like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, or even in the first episode, Amir Khan and Roach's celebrity status. But Episode 2 of the series brings us inside the rough and tumble world that ninety nine percent of boxing's participants endure. This episode proved that while Roach might often fall on the celebrity side of the sport, he's not immune to the stresses brought upon by every day life.