By Keith Terceira
Strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza has been making a lot of headlines in the last couple of days. Ariza works with numerous fighters at Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California. Some of those fighters include WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao, WBC middleweight king Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, and WBO/WBA 140-pound titleholder Amir Khan.
Ariza is unhappy with some of the events that are taking place behind the scenes, involving two of his main fighters - Pacquiao and Chavez. During a recent interview that appeared on fighthype.com, Ariza made several critical comments regarding Top Rank's CEO, Bob Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Chavez. Ariza made allegations that Arum is looking to have him and Freddie Roach replaced in the Chavez corner, and that Arum was complaining and dissatisfied with the fact that he handled the cut over Manny’s eye during the Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy bout on November 12th.
BoxingScene.com caught with Alex, and even though it was Thanksgiving weekend - was still in the gym working with his boxers.
BoxingScene.com: Alex, seems that there is some confusion over whether or not Arum and Manny are negotiating at this moment for a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I never tried to dip my hat into the promotional ring; it’s none of my business but Bob went above and beyond , trying to get me fired , trying to get me discredited ,trying to interfere with my fighters.”
BoxingScene.com: What do you feel Arum is trying to do with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and your agreement?
“Like I said he was trying to move him over the hill”
BoxingScene.com: Move him over to Robert Garcia, you mean?
BoxingScene.com: Do you have a written contract with your fighters or a handshake agreement?
“It’s a contract”
BoxingScene.com: Would it not be tortious interference then if you have a contract?
“You know the thing is that he (Arum) is not stupid, he has a way of doing things.”
BoxingScene.com: Are you saying that he is doing it through a third party?
“He could be doing it thru 3-4 different parties”
BoxingScene.com: So, you think he has a gopher doing it for him?
“Exactly, so that is why I came out and said what I had to say, and if he leaves me alone things are fine, if not I’ll have more things to say.”
BoxingScene.com: To be honest Alex, I wrote yesterday that perhaps it’s time Manny promoted himself?
“I wish I would have said that one myself. You know I just saw an article where Manny’s doctor said that the cut was down to the bone, but yet after I stopped the bleeding in the tenth round. I don’t understand what he is so upset about.”
BoxingScene.com: If that cut was down to the bone then I would imagine that you did as much and as well as any cutman in the business could, considering it stopped bleeding?
“Yeh, but that is not good enough. He has to find the bad in it, like what am I doing in there. He could have just said thank you. It could have been a disaster. Well I’m more upset with Miguel (Diaz) as well , Miguel didn’t man up and say hey, I missed it, I missed the cut , I didn’t see it.”
BoxingScene.com: Is Miguel Diaz, Bob Arum’s guy?
“Of course, we will see what comes from all of this.”
BoxingScene.com: I read someone’s opinion that you are on your way out with Manny Pacquiao, is everything cool with you and Manny?
“That’s why I got so upset. Manny and I spoke about everything on Saturday. We sat down we watched the fight together and I just gave him an overview. People think Manny is stupid, Manny is not going to sit there and look …Chavez is fighting like he has never fought before, Amir Khan is fighting the best ever, and they are doing the program, they are following the routine. This fight I didn’t feel like fighting with Manny as much. He had a great camp, his training was very focused, he was very into what he was doing, and sometimes as a trainer you can only make suggestions. When things don’t go your way, it’s time to just take a step back and let him do his thing.”
BoxingScene.com: He also had a lot going on around him and by pushing too hard; it may have made matters worse instead of better.
“Yes, I didn’t feel like I was going to push my agenda. Once I saw he wasn’t going to go with things the way I wanted things to go, I left it alone and just supported him in the things he was doing and help him as much as I can. He told me this time, he promised that we would go back to doing things the old way, so we will see. Listen nothing that I say is going to get me fired from Manny."
Manny is going to fire me based on him not wanting me being there, period. It’s not going to be that I said something about Bob or I said something about Michael [Koncz]; it’s not going to be over that, it’s just going to be my time to go. That kind of sh*t doesn’t bother Manny. If Manny wants me out I’ll be out. If Manny wants me in I’ll be in. Nobody is going to convince him one way or the other.”
BoxingScene.com: Alex thanks for talking to me today, I figured to give you a call and see if you had more to add to your interview?
“Like I said, I’ve said all that I have to say, I’m going to leave it alone, and hopefully Bob leaves me alone. Let him do what he wants to do, and he lets me be me. I don’t think anyone should try to f*ck with anyone’s livelihood. That is very, very, dangerous business.”