MANILA, Philippines – Strength and conditioning trainer Alex Ariza believes it was Juan Manuel Marquez's scientific approach to his training that keyed his victory over Filipino ring icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.
Ariza works with Pacquiao and was part of the Filipino’s corner for his fourth fight against Marquez, but had to credit Marquez for his dedication to his strength and conditioning regimen.
In an interview with Dog House Boxing, Ariza said it was "science and Juan Manuel Marquez that beat Manny Pacquiao."
"That wasn't the same Marquez we had seen before. He's the same intelligent fighter and technician, but it was the exercise and nutrition that turned him into the relentless fighter who could withstand Manny's punches, and be able to generate that kind of explosiveness with one punch," Ariza said.
Marquez knocked out Pacquiao with just a second to go in the sixth round via a short right hand that sent the Filipino icon face first to the canvas.
While some people questioned Marquez's bulk and physique, Ariza said it was a natural result of a scientifically sound strength and conditioning regimen.
"Look at Marquez. He's never done anything different. He’s an old school boxer, using old style boxing techniques and training, antiquated and archaic as they are," Ariza said.
"Now you bring science in. You start applying a consistent strength program that is all science based," he added. "You apply this to a person like Marquez who's never done anything like that, and his body is going to go through a metamorphosis."
"To our eyes, he looked bigger, but it was all functional muscle that had been developed over the course of a four-month period."
Marquez's dedication to his strength and conditioning regimen was vital to his training, which lasted for over four months.
"He had time. It wasn't like a four-week program where he was forcing it. I can assure you there were days where he just rested, and ate, and allowed his body to recuperate and develop more muscle," Ariza said.
He also gave credit to Marquez's strength and conditioning coach, Angel "Memo" Heredia, a controversial figure who has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
"I have no doubt about Memo... This was Memo’s third fight with Marquez. He knows his body, he's confident in the program, and he’s seeing the results," Ariza said.
"In addition, Marquez now believes it. He's seeing the results. When you believe in it, you start to push harder."
In contrast to Marquez, Pacquiao has lessened his focus on his strength and conditioning program and instead did more sparring and boxing leading up to the fourth fight.
"All the losses we suffered this year have been because of the lack of support for the strength and conditioning program," Ariza said. "I believe in what I do. It was hard to see some of the fighters I've worked with getting knocked out."
"The common denominator in all those losses was that they all abandoned the strength and conditioning program. I don't want to say I blame anyone. It’s very taxing. Unless you can show me something else, that’s the one common denominator in all those losses," he said.