LOS ANGELES — If you’re an aging professional athlete, there are plenty of sports where you can hang around without endangering yourself. It’s just that this isn’t one of them. You hang on too long here, you leave damaged.
The man with the tremors in his left hand knows it. When especially tired or under stress, his entire body quivers like a tuning fork. He has Parkinson’s disease. A few people pleaded with him to stop fighting, but he didn’t listen. “Fighters don’t want to quit,” he says.
Nowadays a trainer, 50-year-old Freddie Roach keeps a careful eye on Manny Pacquiao, the best of his fighters, perhaps the best fighter on the planet, a dazzling pugilist he cares about like a son. He loves him, love being the word he never uses — too soft for the maniacal world of a boxing gym. But it is the right word; it accounts for his ferocity when it comes to all things Pacquiao. At 5-6 1/2 , with his toothy grin, close-set eyes and dark-framed glasses, Roach looks like a pint-sized Buddy Holly. read more