The Roach Brothers were born in Dedham, Massachusetts as three of seven children. The brothers were trained by their father Paul Roach, who was a former New England Featherweight Champion. They were raised in a government housing project in Dedham and endured numerous counts of abuse from their father. All three Roach Brothers would be involved in sanctioned boxing tournaments by the age of six and by the time they were teenagers they would be a well known force in the world of New England boxing.
Freddie, who was the middle-aged of the three brothers would be the first to start boxing as a professional. He would compete in his first professional fight in 1978 just months after turning 18. After just four fights legendary trainer, Eddie Futch would take on Freddie as one of his clients. By 1982 Freddie would already now be a veteran of 25 fights and would only have 1 loss to his credit. He would also hold the same New England Featherweight title that his father held 32 years earlier. At that time older brother Pepper and younger brother Joey would move out to Las Vegas to join the professional ranks. The brothers would quickly form a habit of appearing on the same card together, however usually only two of them at the same time. However, on June 11, 1982 all three brothers would appear on the same card for the first time. The fights would take place at the historic, Boston Garden right in the backyard of where the brothers grew up. Joey and Pepper would fight un the undercard with Joey scoring a knockout of Joe Vanier in the first round and Pepper winning a points decision over Jaime Rodriguez. In the main event the heavily favored Freddie would take on a relatively unknown local boxer from Pawtucket, Rhode Island named Rafael Lopez. Freddie would end up on the wrong end of a unanimous decision and take just the second loss of his career. About a year later, the three brothers would appear on the same card for the second and final time on August 25, 1983 at the Showboat Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This time Pepper and Joey would be on the wrong side of their decisions. Pepper would first lose his undercard bout via points to Roman Almaguer for his first career loss. Joey would follow with his first loss in a points decision to Austreberto Perez. Freddie would take the main event in a win over Carlos Bryant.
Pepper would have the shortest of the three careers, ending in 1984. He would be forced to retire at 7-2-1 record after being sentenced to 53 months in jail for robbing a liquior store. Joey would continue on what looked to be a strong career. In his first 10 fights he would only lose one bout. However, in December 1985 he would lose decisively to former Olympic Gold Medalist, Paul Gonzales in a unanimous decision. Freddie had continued on as well, becoming a favorite on ESPN and their new weekly fight coverage. However, after 40 plus professional fights Freddie would start to exhibit early signs of Parkinson's disease from his years of punishment. As such, his trainer, Futch would ask Freddie to retire, a request that Roach denied. Futch would stop training Freddie and his father Paul would take over as his trainer. Freddie would go on to lose 5 of his last 6 fights and would retire shortly after a fight with David Rivello in October 1986. Freddie would finish his career at 39-13-0. Youngest brother Joey would be the last of the three to fight as a professional after a 7th round TKO loss against Mauro Diaz on November 26, 1986. Joey would end his career at 8-3-3.
Although being known as very tough fighters with very good technical skills and who could take numerous punches with ease, none of the three brothers was known as being a very hard puncher. In fact, of the 54 total victories between them as professionals, only 19 of them came by way of knockout.
Retirement and Present Day
With their careers over and none of the Roach Brothers ever having made a large amount of money fighting, by example Freddie, who had fought for 2 world championships and 53 total fights never made more than $7,500 in a fight. They were forced to take on a variety of odd jobs. First going to work as telemarketers in the Las Vegas area. Joey would prove to be very good at his telemarketing job and would eventually start his own company which would make him millions of dollars. Freddie meanwhile, would take a job as an unpaid assistant to his friend and mentor Eddie Futch. Freddie would become an instant success at his new job and five years later would earn a full time job as actor Mickey Rourke's trainer in Hollywood, California as he attempted a boxing career. Four years later when Rourke would retire he left Roach with all of his equipment, which Freddie would use to start the Wildcard Gym, which he still owns today. Fredie has gone on to become one of the most well-respected trainers in boxing today, having four times been named the Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year and training 25 world champions to date. Pepper has also joined brother Freddie at the Wildcard as one of his assistant trainers. Sadly, Joey died on August 28, 2009 in his sleep of an apparent heart attack.
- "The Story of Freddie Roach". Bleacher Report. December 9, 2008. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- "Boxing articles - Author Gary Todd writes for Aussiebox". Aussiebox.com.au. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
- Spagat, Elliot (April 4, 2008). "Roach fights Parkinson's while thriving as a boxing trainer". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
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