One day, Freddie Roach was at his gym, Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, and, out of nowhere, in walks Muhammad Ali.
“He walked in one day and says, ‘Can I work out?’” Roach, the Hall of Fame trainer, recalled on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ I grabbed the phone, I was going to call some of my friends and invite them, and then I said, ‘No, let’s let this happen. Let’s see how it goes.’ The people who came in the gym that day had a great time.”
Manny Pacquiao, George St-Pierre and Miguel Cotto are some of the champions who have trained at Wild Card Boxing Club, which was established in 1995.
But when Ali walked in? Greatness. Pure greatness.
“He spent four hours in my gym, he hit the bags and everything, and as soon as he started hitting the bag and so forth, his tremors stopped,” Roach said. “That’s just like me when I do mitts. It must be comfort zone: boxing, of course. He did magic, levitation tricks – he was great. Four hours, it was great. It was my first time really getting to know this man, and he just walks in my gym one day. I don’t even know how he found me, but he did.”