GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/05 November) — The city government formally conferred on Tuesday the title of “adopted son” to Hall of Fame boxing trainer Frederick Steven “Freddie” Roach for helping promote the city to the rest of the world via the famed boxing career of its favorite son Manny Pacquiao.
City officials led by Mayor Ronnel Rivera presented the prestigious title to the American boxing trainer in simple rites held during the 17th regular session of the city council on Tuesday.
Roach’s declaration as the city’s “adopted son” was based on Resolution No. 9648 that was unanimously approved by city council members during its 16th regular session.
“Thank you very much, I appreciate it. I feel honored and I’ll give the best shot I can (to uphold this title),” Roach said.
City Councilor Franklin Gacal Jr., who authored the resolution, said the title is mainly in recognition of Roach’s “talent, dedication and class” in making Pacquiao a world boxing champion.
He said the trainer was the key factor in Pacquiao’s transformation “from a raw talent to a world-class boxer.”
Pacquiao, who currently represents Sarangani Province at the House of Representatives, became a world boxing champion in a record eight divisions under Roach’s tutelage.
“Roach was always the man behind Manny Pacquiao so it’s just but fitting to make him an adopted son (of the city),” Gacal said.
City Councilor Richard Atendido said there’s no question that Roach has given invaluable contributions to the city over the years.
With Roach at the background, he said Pacquiao eventually evolved into a world boxing icon, giving the city the same global recognition.
“(Roach) is now an ambassador of goodwill for the city,” said City Councilor Elizabeth Bagonoc.
Roach has been staying in the city since last month to supervise Pacquiao’s training camp for his Nov. 24 fight in Macau, China against Mexican-American brawler Brandon Lee Rios.
He has become a regular fixture within the vicinity of Pacquiao’s Wild Card Gym, which is located infront of a major shopping mall here.
The 53 year-old trainer, who is of Irish and French Canadian descent, took Pacquiao under his wing in 2001 and is mainly credited for the latter’s ring success since.
Roach, who was credited for producing 20 champion boxers in the last two decades, had been named “Trainer of the Year” five times by the Boxing Writers Association of America and worked with top American amateurs who participated in the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Roach was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012. (MindaNews)