By Osman Rodriguez
On the latest edition of HBO's 24/7 reality series, the hot item of discussion was Alex Ariza, the strength and conditioning coach of Manny Pacquiao. Several members of Pacquiao's camp were interviewed, including the fighter himself, regarding the internal tension between Ariza and trainer Freddie Roach.
Roach is still not happy with the incident which took place a few weeks ago - when Ariza left Pacquiao's camp in the Philippines and returned to the United States to start training middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for his upcoming fight with Andy Lee on June 16th. Pacquiao is training for a defense of his WBO welterweight title against Timothy Bradley on June 9th.
At the time of Ariza's departure, Roach was also training junior welterweight Amir Khan for his now canceled rematch with Lamont Peterson. Khan and Ariza parted ways after the "departure issue." Roach and Ariza are currently training Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, but the tension is still there.
"Well the thing is, I had Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao, my two top fighters there. Alex wanted to go work with Chavez Jr. and I told him 'I think it's a bad move.' People make decisions and I think it was the wrong one. He's a grown man and he will have to live with his decision, not me," Roach said.
Ariza defended his actions by stating that Pacquiao gave him permission to go.
"When I spoke to Manny, and we had our conversation - he just said 'we're only going to be gone a couple weeks.' It's not like I left in the heart of training camp or two weeks before or I left for a whole camp. He just gave me the green light and said 'yeah, go help him. I'll see you in LA, it's okay,'" Ariza said.
Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, chimed in.
"Freddie is not very happy about it and you can see that there is tension in the gym since they came back. But frankly I can give two hoots if Alex is training Manny or not training Manny," Koncz said.
Pacquiao would later confirm that he gave Ariza permission to help Chavez.
"Ariza, they are making a big issue of that, but Alex asked permission to me - if I'm okay that he goes back to LA. But If I don't agree, he's not going to leave. I gave him permission to leave," Pacquiao said.
Roach would once again give his take, revealing that there might be a lot more to the tension than Ariza's early departure - and even went as far as to say that he's going to ask Manny to eliminate Ariza.
"One thing about Alex, he's very good at what he does, but he overdid it. He wants to be a strength coach, a cutman, and everything else. His head's gotten too big and we need to calm him down a little bit. I think he's bullsh***ing a little bit and I don't apprectiate that and I'm going to suggest to Manny that we get rid of him or I get a new strength coach," Roach said.