by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Manny Pacquiao’s former strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza claims had no choice but to accept the offer of Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios to help him train for his showdown against Pacquiao in Macau on November 24.
In a lengthy conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Ariza appeared hurt by the fact that he learned he had been fired by Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach from boxing writer Kevin Iole who found out about it on an internet chat of Roach.
Ariza told us “Manny could have called me himself and told me over the phone in a dignified, professional and affectionate manner, and said ‘ hey bro I don’t want to have any trouble in my camp at this time I’m just going to let you go. He didn’t have to wait. He could have told me months ago instead of waiting for the last minute. He was not the one who did it he let Freddie do it over an internet chat.”
Ariza said he learned he was fired through the media and regretted that it was “not even personally. Nobody had the decency to even call me. I left him (Pacquiao) several messages that someone was reaching out to me to work. I wanted to call him and tell him, but got no response.”
The strength and conditioning coach emphasized “I didn’t leave him (Pacquiao). He left me.”
Ariza told us “Don’t get me wrong, the Philippines is still my home. I love the Filipino people But you guys (referring to the media) have to understand what Freddie Roach is doing. Is it for his ego or is it the best thing for Manny?”
Ariza recalled that he helped Pacquiao in five fights in which he “looked sensational”. It began when he battered David Diaz in nine rounds, pulverized Oscar De La Hoya who quit on his stool in eight rounds, devastated Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton in two, hammered Miguel Cotto in a 12th round TKO and ripped Antonio Margarito apart in twelve rounds where referee Laurence Cole refused to stop the massacre despite the pleas of Pacquiao.
He said Pacquiao chose not to follow his strength and conditioning regimen and lost two of his last four fights which included a highly controversial decision to Timothy Bradley and a crushing 6th round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez.
Ariza made it clear “I am grateful for what he did for me.”
When confronted with the question of whether it was right to train Rios, the opponent of Pacquiao, Ariza replied “You think I would have ever left him? I would never have left him but I have to pay the bills too. I respect Manny and his decision. When Kevin Iole called me and told me I was fired, I said I respect Manny if that’s what he wants. I don’t want to make it complicated I want the best for him and planned to take a vacation and spend some time with my family. "
He revealed that two days after the Pacquiao-Rios media tour ended he got a call from Brandon in Los Angeles and they teamed up after talking it over with trainer Robert Garcia.