RingTV.com: How are your doctors going to feel about the fact that you are taking punches to your face and head from Khan while he’s executing the mitt and padwork?
FR: He pulls the punches and he just shows me the openings, and Manny does the same thing. My doctors have asked me to stop doing it, but I talked to both fighters and I’ve asked them to cut down on that a little bit.
But when we’re doing the mitts, they just want to show me that they see the openings, and I accept that. But my doctors are going to be pissed at me when they see that. [Laughs.]
They don’t hit me really hard, although sometimes, they can get carried away. One time, Amir hit me so hard it gave me vertigo.
Sometimes, it’s by accident, sometimes, it’s on purpose. But I do get hit hard once in a while, so that’s something that I may have to doing stop one of these days.
RingTV.com: Do you allow all of your fighters to deliver punches do your face, or just Khan and Pacquiao?
FR: No, just those two.
RingTV.com: How would you describe the role of your assistant, Marie Spivey?
FR: Well, I’ve been with Marie and known her for eight years, so it’s been a very long relationship. She’s works hard, she won’t steal from me, and that’s why she’s my assistant.
She has a hard job though, because if something goes wrong, then she’s going to get it from me. She’s the one that’s closest to me, and if I’m in a bad mood, that’s usually who gets the bad end of it.
RingTV.com: What was going on during the dinner scene where she’s on her phone and you’re angry with her?
FR: Well, there was the one moment where I got mad at her. Someone was supposed to call us at 8:15 p.m. for an interview, and they didn’t call, so I told her, “don’t worry about it.”
But she was trying to make sure that we were there and available and I said, “they missed the call, not us, so tell them to go and f–k themselves.” [Laughs.] But she wouldn’t do it.
She kept paying attention to that, and she wouldn’t eat her dinner. So I said, “just enjoy yourself and enjoy the atmosphere.” But she refused, and she wanted to be professional.
So I just told her, “get the f–k off the phone,” and I just got mad. Someone said to me, “I’ve never seen that dark side of you before.” But I said, “well, when you get mad, what happens?”
We all get mad sometimes, you know, and when I get mad, I get loud. So I kind of felt bad watching that.
RingTV.com: How difficult was it to watch the entire ordeal with Pepper’s stroke, and to see yourself upset to the point of sobbing and worry?
FR: That was very difficult to watch. That choked me up a little bit to watch that. The thing is, he left in an ambulance. I was sad about that.
Him going to the hospital. I was thinking, “maybe he’ll die from this,” and so forth. Like that. But I walked into the office, I got a hold of myself and I realized to myself that I’m not a doctor and I can’t help him.
No sense of me going to the hospital, so I grab my mitts, got back into the ring and went back to work. Of course, he actually came to the screening, so that was good. That helped.
RingTV.com: How was the experience for your mother, Barbara?
FR: My mother, she’s a pretty hard woman and she’s a nurse and she’s worked in the psych ward for years and stuff like that. She’s more used to trauma and stuff like that. She’s seen a lot of that in her lifetime.
She’s a very tough lady, but growing up in my household, she had to be. She actually loved the entire show. I thought that she might get mad at me from talking about her two black eyes.
But, you know, what? That was part of her life, and I’m sure that she remembers it better than I do. So she actually loved the show and thought it was great.
RingTV.com: How is Pepper doing now?
FR: He’s back in rehab today, and so they’re at a rehab center and they’re working on him. They’re working on making him functional and being able to live on his own.
They were talking to him the other day and they told him, “Mr. Roach, it’s time to do your laundry.” And he told them, “my wife does that.” But they said, “your wife’s not here.”
So he has to cook for himself and he has to do a lot for himself. The more things that he has to do in the rehab center by himself, the better he’ll function in life. So he’s getting better slowly, but it’ll take a while.
RingTV.com: What do you want viewers to take away from this early part of the series?
FR: Life is tough, but one thing that my dad and my mom taught me was that you never lie down and quit, you have to get up and fight on.
We can overcome our disabilities and our problems with hard work. I think that’s the message that I’d like everyone to get.
Photo by Stacey Verbeek
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org