MANILA, Philippines – The incident between the camps of Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios at a gym in Macau on Wednesday may cast a bad light on the sport of boxing, Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum said.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, confronted Rios’ trainer, Robert Garcia, at a gym in the Venetian Hotel in Macau, and the two wound up exchanging profanities before strength and conditioning trainer Alex Ariza – a former member of Team Pacquiao – got involved.
Ariza kicked Roach in the chest, and racial and homophobic slurs were thrown before the two were eventually separated.
“It’s unfortunate,” Arum said of the incident in an interview with RingTV. “It adds a lot of excitement, but it’s not in the best interest of the sport.”
“A lot of people look at boxing, and they say that there’s a hooligan element in boxing. And when you have an incident like this, it reinforces their belief that people who are in boxing are hooligans,” he added. “It’s not very good for the sport.”
There is no love lost between Roach and the members of Team Rios. Rios and Garcia had infamously mocked Roach’s Parkinsons disease in 2010, while Roach fired Ariza from Team Pacquiao.
“Garcia and Rios are good friends of mine and they listened to reason. I’ve told them to tone everything down and they will,” Arum said in a separate interview with Boxing Scene.
“But Ariza sometimes gets out of control, and that’s really the problem. And usually, when these types of fights occur, it’s usually someone who is tangential to the main guys who starts it,” he added.