MANILA, Philippines – Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach still has not forgiven Alex Ariza for their altercation last week in Macau.
Ahead of the highly anticipated showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Rios, Roach confronted his opposite number, Robert Garcia, in a gym in Macau. Slurs were exchanged and Ariza wound up kicking Roach in the chest.
Roach had the last laugh, however, as Pacquiao thoroughly dismantled Rios in their 12-round welterweight showdown last Sunday.
In a Boxing Scene interview, Roach said he was still angry about what Ariza did, especially as the former Team Pacquiao member not only kicked him, but also made fun of his Parkinson’s disease.
“When Alex Ariza made fun of me the other day – now that’s a slap in the face,” Roach said. “He’s a grown man, and he was on my team when they made fun of me.”
Roach is referring to a 2010 incident when Rios also made fun of his Parkinson’s disease during the lead-up to Pacquiao’s fight against Antonio Margarito.
The trainer said he has “no problems with Brandon Rios,” however.
“He made fun of me one time, but you know he’s just a kid, and I think he should have thought about that a little bit more,” he said.
What Ariza did was unforgivable, however, considering the strength and conditioning trainer’s reaction when Rios made fun of Roach all those years ago.
“He (Ariza) used to say that he wanted to kill those people (for making fun of me),” Roach said. “But now he’s making fun of me and so forth.”
“It’s a little bit embarrassing. I wish I was just normal like everyone else, too,” he added.
Ariza was part of Team Pacquiao for several fights, and received credit for helping the “Pacman” navigate weight classes. He was fired by Roach prior to the Rios fight, however, and was subsequently hired by Garcia to work with Rios.