By Ryan Maquiñana and Alex G. Martinez
Angel “Memo” Hernandez, the strength and conditioning coach of Juan Manuel Marquez, recently went on the record on Mexican cable channel Milenio Television, threatening to sue Alex Ariza, his counterpart in the camp of Manny Pacquiao.
“I would like to say through this medium and the public that logically, we are preparing a lawsuit for defamation against Mr. Alex Ariza,” Hernandez said, his words translated from Spanish. “On his behalf, the declarations he has made are very direct. I think they’re very prejudicial not just with respect toward the image of Juan Manuel Marquez, but for mine as his physical trainer.”
While it is unclear exactly which of Ariza's comments have sparked Hernandez’ statements, Hernandez has come under scrutiny lately after former BALCO chief Victor Conte revealed through his Twitter account on Monday that Hernandez is the former Angel Heredia.
As the government’s star witness in the infamous BALCO doping cases, Heredia testified before a San Francisco court in May of 2008 that he had sold banned substances—namely EPO, growth hormone and steroids—to Olympic sprinters like Marion Jones.
Conte ended up serving four months in prison for his role in orchestrating the steroid distribution scandal.
However, Hernandez’ ire was not directed at Conte, but rather at Ariza and Pacquiao, the latter of whom will fight Marquez on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“Logically here, I think what has transcended is that [Ariza] has a jealousy problem,” Hernandez continued, “and that there is insecurity on Manny’s part and there’s insecurity on his part as well, because logically, Juan Manuel has never had the preparation like he has now with us. We have not employed any doping substance. We have not employed anything illegal that is outside of the Olympic norms.”
Hernandez then challenged Ariza and Pacquiao to submit to drug testing.
“I’ve always been in favor of a clean sport,” Hernandez said, “and now, I’m simply demanding to finalize this topic in the case of Ariza—or Alex, whatever this guy’s name is—well one, that we prove these things; two, let’s submit to blood, urine, or fecal tests. And Alex, I think the only person here who has doubts are you and Manny, because in the past people have solicited proof a thousand times to give blood and urine tests, and you have never wanted to do them.
“Well, here I believe that this is the opportunity to maybe for once to disprove the accusations against Pacquiao. And honestly, the accusations presented on their behalf are sort of sad, no, because no one here has said anything negative about Pacquiao. Anyway, I believe this to be the best way to end these accusations that have no foundation.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America, and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.