Given the turbulent nature of their past dealings with one and other, multiple-time ‘Trainer of the Year’ Freddie Roach and his former in-house strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza are rarely heard saying kind words about, or to, one and other.
After years of fruitful co-operation, the pair stood in opposing corners for the first time since Ariza’a expulsion from the Wild Card Gym when Manny Pacquiao(57-5-2, 38KO’s) fought Brandon Rios(33-2-1, 24KO’s) in Macau, China in December 2013. During final preparations, a mix-up between the camps over which fighter was scheduled to use the facilities at a specific time boiled over into a physical confrontation. Ariza ended up kicking Roach in the chest after some distasteful verbal barbs were exchanged.
Eighteen months down the line and Ariza has integrated himself into the camp of Floyd Mayweather Jr(47-0, 26KO’s), who will be facing Pacquiao on May 2nd in Las Vegas. Floyd has been seen in videos chopping wood and swimming which is an unmistakable switching of gears from what we’re used to seeing from him. These changes have coincided with Ariza’s arrival on the scene, so it isn’t a stretch to attribute the cause to him.
Roach was asked by Fighthype.com what he thinks of Ariza helping out the competition yet again, this time on the world’s grandest stage.
“I think it’s the best thing in the fuckin’ world. Wait ‘till he starts trying to do the cutman’s job and everyone else’s job. I mean. It’s pretty funny actually cuz he wants to be the man so bad.”
“He starts trying to do Miguel Diaz’s job, Miguel can’t get up the steps because he’s cutting him off. He tried to be the cutman. It’s just a matter of time before he[Floyd] fires him also.”
From Roach’s perspective, Ariza had trouble sticking to his designated tasks and overstepped the boundaries in place at the Wild Card and on fight night. That is unprofessional if true, but why was he allowed to behave in this manner if he was pissing everybody off? Was it a case of letting it slide while the going was good? Or did Ariza repeatedly ignore instructions until the situation became untenable? Perhaps he will sew dome discord in the Mayweather camp this time.
Whatever his methods, Ariza has a reputation for whipping any athlete under his watch into unbelievable condition and has been trying to help Floyd along in the same way, even though Floyd is a physical freak and was an obsessive trainer before Ariza’s arrival.
Roach is doubtful as to how much significance these changes will have on Floyd at this stage in a long career.
“For someone to go into a swimming pool for the first time in his life this late; I think it’s ridiculous… I am surprised yes. He’s undefeated. Why would you change something? It’s been working for him so far.”
Roach can either take confidence from Floyd’s attempts at bettering his chances of a win come May because Pacquiao presents such a threat. Or, maybe Roach should consider it a warning that no stone is being left unturned by a man already famed for his ‘hard work and dedication.”