MANILA, Philippines – Former world champion Amir “King” Khan of Britain admitted that his decision to part ways with Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach was partially affected by Roach’s struggles with Parkinson’s disease.
Roach was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1992, six years after retiring from professional boxing. Despite his struggles with the illness, he has gone on to have a highly successful career as a trainer, most notably guiding Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.
But in an interview with Boxing Scene, Khan hinted that Roach has been struggling with Parkinson’s more and more.
“Freddie’s illness, it’s very hard to see him as he’s getting older. I believe that he’s getting worse, and I wish him all the best,” Khan said.
Khan decided to change trainers following two consecutive losses. He has said one of his reasons for replacing Roach was the large number of fighters the trainer worked with, including Pacquiao and Mexican prodigy Julio Cesar Chavez, which prevented Roach from focusing on him and his career.
But the British boxer was quick to say that Roach is still capable of doing his day-to-day duties as a trainer, despite his struggles.
“Freddie is still, with the Parkinson’s disease, doing a great job working the mitts and working with fighters, day in, day out,” Khan said.
“I just believe that I need someone who is going to work with me that bit harder and get the best out of me,” he added.
Khan has since hired Virgil Hunter as his new trainer and will face Carlos Molina on December 15.
Meanwhile, Roach said in a Yahoo! Sports interview that Khan’s decision to change trainers had nothing to do with his illness.
“It had nothing to do with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s had nothing to do with it. They know that. And I wish them the best of luck,” Roach said in an interview with Kevin Iole.