By Ronnie Nathanielsz

Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz a short while ago denied reports of a clash with conditioning expert Alex Ariza and instead suggested that people focus on the “Fire Power” showdown between Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on November 14.,, Standard Today and Viva Sports learned earlier that tempers flared up at Pacquiao’s training camp in Baguio City where differences between Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz and other members of Team Pacquiao have been simmering.

The trouble reportedly exploded when conditioning expert Alex Ariza reportedly learned that Koncz had consistently attempted to get him fired by Pacquiao despite the fact that by all accounts Ariza has helped turn the Filipino boxing icon into an explosive fighter ever since he teamed up with celebrated trainer Freddie Roach.

Since Ariza joined Team Pacquiao the devastating puncher has demolished Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky “Hitman” Hatton and is being prepared to continue the trend against WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas  on November 14.,, Standard Today and Viva Sports learned that Koncz had allegedly tried to have Ariza removed from working the corner of Pacquiao for the Cotto fight and wanted to take his place.

After Pacquiao himself, in a meeting about fight credentials with Joe Ramos, had listed Roach and Ariza as well as Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez as his corner-men, Koncz was alleged to have gone to Roach and told him that Pacquiao didn’t want Ariza in his corner and wanted him instead. 

Our source who was in Baguio City told us that when Ariza learned about the moves of Koncz who had earlier even wanted Roach replaced, he confronted the Canadian adviser and beat him up before a bodyguard jumped in and subdued Ariza preventing him from inflicting further harm on Koncz who reportedly received at least five blows thrown by the conditioning guru who is known to be strong.

By all accounts when Pacquiao woke up and learned about the incident, he had no reaction. However, when we contacted Koncz he said “no comment. Who’s telling you this shit. People are stirring things up. I have nothing to say. Let’s focus on the fight.”

Koncz posed the question, “what power do I have to oust anybody? Its all up to Manny.”

At the same time Koncz said “I don’t interfere with Roach. Its up to him who he wants.” He said we could check with Roach himself about their relationship and even ask Pacquiao himself whether he (Koncz) had ever asked him to replace anybody although he did admit working to keep out those individuals who take advantage of Pacquiao and fleece him of his money. 

Pacquiao, in a recent luncheon press conference hosted by Solar Sports at the Crowne Plaza in Ortigas said he had faith in Koncz because he does what he tells him to do and he has trust in his adviser. Koncz' critics claim he has the loyalty of a dog.

While Koncz obviously demonstrates remarkable loyalty to Pacquiao he has angered several members on Team Pacquiao as well as others even outside the Pacquiao camp including North Cotabato vice governor Manny Pinol and promoter/manager Gabriel "Bebot" Elorde.

But his apparent feud with Ariza and Roach is more worrisome so close to Pacquiao's showdown with Miguel Cotto. Roach himself was recently quoted as saying "Mike Konz made a comment that we dont need to talk to Freddie, he's only the trainer. Well, Mike Koncz, I'm the only one in the camp that knows boxing and knows the sport..I've been studying ythis guy (Cotto) watching his fight. I have a good strategy in mind and we just  have to implement it now. Maybe Mike Koncz can come up with the strategy. I dont know. You know, I'm sop pissed off with this guy. If they dont want me to be the trainer anymore, thats  fine with me. Do it yourself."

Roach himself had earlier indicated he would beat up Koncz who is close to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum but it seems Ariza beat Roach to the task.