By Edward Chaykovsky
Strength and conditioning trainer Alex Ariza, who works with WBC/WBA welterweight and junior middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., shot down any claims of his fighter being bullied in the gym and suffering injuries from sparring mates.
Ariza is helping prepare Mayweather for the May 2nd mega-fight with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Ariza had previously worked with Pacquiao for several years before being fired by head trainer Freddie Roach.
Roach, and Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, have said Mayweather is being busted up in camp by sparring partners and suffered minor injuries from the bruising sessions.
"I don't call scraped knuckles… I don't call that an injury," Ariza said to ABS CBN News. "That's just, sometimes they scrape some knuckles inside those gloves. That sometimes happens, nothing major. [There was] nothing broken that would cause any concern or delay of this fight."
"I think anybody who has hit a heavy bag or anything, they scrape some skin off the knuckle, and I don't see anything big deal about it. We haven't missed any training session. We haven't taken any breaks which are not the regular breaks that we normally take, so nothing is out of the ordinary."
Ariza also denied reports that Mayweather had to wear special head gear due to a busted lip from a sparring session.
"The custom in Floyd's gym is they're not allowed. Neither Floyd nor the sparring partner wears the headgear with the protective bar," said Ariza. "We use the old headgear, which is very similar to the Olympic style – open face. That makes them improve on certain things."
"You don't put too much faith or have a false sense of security of having the bar there to absorb punches. It makes it very defensive. Unfortunately we see the small head butt. That was not a big deal, but that's what happened in sparring – busted lip, black eyes, bloody noses," he said.
"But that's typical, because they don't use conventional style protective headgear, they use the old-style. They use smaller gloves, very similar to what a real fight is like."