Freddie Roach is having fun training boxers and doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon.
The Hall of Fame trainer has a host of boxers in his camp, including Avenal native Jose Ramirez, who returns to the ring Saturday at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore.
Ramirez (17-0, 12 knockouts) will face Tomas Mendez (22-7, 14 KOs) of the Dominican Republic in a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout for the World Boxing Council Continental Americas title. The fight will be shown tape-delayed at 11 p.m. as part of the “Solo Boxeo” series on UniMas (Comcast channel 12).
Before Ramirez, Roach coached many boxers – even world champions.
Never miss a local story.
When Roach, 56, became a trainer at age 27, he helped mold Virgil Hill into a world champion. The list of notable champions ballooned after Hill and include Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Peter Quillin, Amir Khan and Mike Tyson. In all, 38 former world champions, Roach said.
I have the best job in the world.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach
“I have the best job in the world,” Roach said Wednesday during a workout with Ramirez in Fresno. “I work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days a week, and that’s what I do and love. You’ll see me for a little while longer.”
Roach said he’s training 12 fighters, including Ramirez and current world champions Viktor Postol and Denis Lebedev. They train at Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club gym in Hollywood.
Postol (28-0) will face Terence Crawford (28-0) in a World Boxing Organization/WBC junior-welterweight title unification bout July 23 in Las Vegas. Roach said Lebedev will fight in October.
Roach, a seven-time Boxing Writers Association of America Trainer of the Year, added he doesn’t train any boxers unless he sees them as a potential world champion. He sees that in Ramirez.
“I have two world champions getting ready for their fight,” Roach said. “Chose to come up here and spend time with him before his fight.”
Ramirez didn’t hold back his excitement about working with the longtime trainer in Fresno.
The relationship Freddie and I have just keeps growing and growing.
“The relationship Freddie and I have just keeps growing and growing,” said Ramirez, ranked 11th by WBC in the super-lightweight division. “It shows his interest and it shows he cares about me as a fighter. It means a lot to me ... and makes me stay motivated and work harder.”
Promoter/agent Rick Mirigian said he noticed a closeness between Ramirez and Roach during the U.S. Olympic Trials before the London Games in 2012.
“There was a natural fit. He had world-class sparring and you can’t find that anywhere on a regular basis. It’s been an amazing situation overall.”
While he said Pacquiao is the best fighter he’s trained, Roach said he’s noticed improvement in Ramirez since he turned pro four years ago and hopes Ramirez becomes a world champion.
“He’s one of my best fighters and he’s getting better every day,” Roach said. “He’s one of my next champions and my future.”
6:30 p.m. Saturday at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore
- Lightweight: Jose Ramirez (17-0, 12 KOs) vs. Tomas Mendez (22-7, 14 KOs), 10 rounds
- Super featherweight: Andy Vences (15-0, 10 KOs) vs. Moises Delgadillo (17-14-2, 8 KOs), eight rounds
- Middlweight: Joe Louie Lopez (8-0, 5 KOs) vs. Ernesto Martinez (11-10-1, 5 KOs), six rounds
- Lightweight: Eric Altamirano (7-0, 5 KOs) vs. Daniel Tran (4-4-1, 2 KOs), six rounds
- Middleweight: Quilisto Madera (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Rafael Valencia (3-2, 2 KOs), four rounds
- Super lightweight: Hector Madera (debut) vs. Kevin Davila (1-2-2, 0 KOs), four rounds
- Featherweight: Efren Lopez (debut) vs. TBA, four rounds