MANILA, Philippines – Tension flared up anew in the camp of Filipino boxer Manny "Pacman"Pacquiao as the latest episode of HBO's reality series "24/7: Pacquiao vs Bradley" revealed an ongoing rift between Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza.
Pacquiao, who is training for his June 9 welterweight clash against unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr., has said he is happy with how his training camp is going as there are less distractions.
|Strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza works with Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao. File photo.
But there may be an issue now as the latest episode of "24/7," which aired last Saturday, revealed that Roach wants Pacquiao to get rid of Ariza, his strength and conditioning trainer.
"I'm going to suggest to Manny that we maybe get rid of him or I get a new strength coach," Roach said.
The tension between the two men began when Ariza left Pacquiao's training camp last month for Los Angeles, to work with another boxer, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Ariza said he had Pacquiao's permission to leave the camp, something the boxer affirmed in the "24/7" episode.
"The media, they're making a big issue of that, but Alex asked permission to me if I'm okay if he goes back to LA and wait here," Pacquiao said. "If I don't agree, he's not going to leave, but I gave him permission to leave."
"When I spoke to Manny and we had our conversation, he just said, 'You're only going to be gone really for a couple of weeks.' It's not like I left in the heart of training or two weeks before, or I left for a whole camp," Ariza said.
"Pacquiao just gave me the green light and said, 'Yeah, go help him. I'll see you in LA,'" he added.
Roach was not happy about Ariza’s decision to leave Pacquiao, however, saying, "The thing is, I had Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao, my top two fighters, there and Alex wanted to go work with Chavez Jr."
"I told him, I said, 'I think it's a bad move.' People make decisions and I think it was the wrong one, but he's a grown man and he'll have to live with his decision, not me," Roach added.
But more than Ariza’s leaving in the middle of camp, Roach also believes that the trainer is trying to do too much in Pacquiao's corner.
"The one thing about Alex, he's very good at what he does, but he just overdid it," Roach said. "He's a great training coach, but he wants to be the trainer, the 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*ttin' a little bit, and I don't appreciate that," he added.
In the "24/7" episode, it was revealed the Khan, Pacquiao's stablemate and former sparring partner, has also fired Ariza from his team.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, acknowledged the tension inside the gym because of the issue between Roach and Ariza.
"But frankly, from my point of view, I don't give two hoots if Alex is training Manny or not training Manny," Koncz said.
Ariza helped Pacquiao through his rise in boxing's weight classes en route to being the only eight-division world champion in boxing.
But there has been some differences between the boxer and his trainer: after Pacquiao's narrow decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez last November, it was revealed that the Filipino champion did not do the usual training methods that Ariza recommended.
Pacquiao has also suffered from leg cramps in his last few fights and has not knocked out an opponent since 2009.
But Ariza assured the boxer's fans that Pacquiao has gone back to his "old style" of strength and conditioning, which helped him in his knockout victories over Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.