By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza has clarified reports that trainer Freddie Roach has fired him, insisting that Roach can’t fire someone who doesn’t work for him.
Boxingscene.com reported it was Pacquiao who made the statement during an ESPN show on Monday in answer to a listener’s question whether he would work with Ariza for his Nov. 24 Macau showdown with Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios. Pacquiao answered ,” No, Freddie fired Alex.”
In an overseas telephone conversation with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard from Mexico where he is working with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr mwho is getting ready for a super middleweight fight against Brian Vera on September 7.
Ariza said “I haven’t heard anything from Manny. How can Freddie fire me when I don’t work for him? Everybody knows that the past two years I haven’t worked for Freddie.”
He said “I will give Manny a call and talk to him but you just never know.”
The strength and conditioning coach said the Rios clash “is a dangerous fight. It’s a serious fight. Rios is very durable, I think he punches harder than (Juan Manuel) Marquez” who scored a crushing 6th round knockout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last December 6.
Ariza said “many people are saying there’s no way Rios can beat Manny but that’s what they said before the Marquez fight. You can’t say things like that. Its going to be a good fight.”
Ariza said the result may depend on what kind of Pacquiao shows up for the fight and “what kind of training camp he has.”
Pacquiao told the Standard earlier that he will train in his hometown of General Santos City and that Roach would arrive sometime in October, probably one month before the Rios fight Thursday in Los Angeles.
Earlier in New York City's Chinatown district Pacquiao and Rios made their first official US stop of their extraordinary world-wide media tour which included previous stops in Macau, Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. The final tour stop will be at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California on Thursday.