Timothy Bradley Jr. (L) of the U.S. exchanges blows with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada June 9, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Steve Marcus)
Alex Ariza, who worked as a conditioning coach for Manny Pacquiao, was shocked to learn that Freddie Roach fired him, even though he had not been employed by the Hall of Fame trainer in the first place.
In an interview with Manila Standard via Boxing News 24, Ariza downplayed the report about him getting fired by Roach, saying Pac-man's chief trainer wasn't even his boss.
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"I haven't heard anything from Manny. How can Freddie fire me when I don't work for him? Everybody knows that the past two years I haven't worked for Freddie. I will give Manny a call and talk to him, but you just never know," said Ariza, who helped Pacquiao prepare for his big fights for the past two or three years.
Ariza was in Pacquiao's corner during his victories against Oscar De la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotton, Sugar Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Tim Bradley and also his third and fourth showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez.
However, his relationship with Roach suddenly went sour during Pacquiao's build-up heading into his fourth fight with Marquez. During Pac-man's training camp, Ariza complained about the Filipino's lack of focus and his decision to abandon the strength and conditioning program.
Pacquiao eventually suffered his worst loss of his boxing career after getting knocked out by Marquez in the sixth round of their Welterweight clash last December.
After the match, Ariza said he wasn't shocked at all by Pacquiao's knockout loss, insisting the eight-division world champion paid the price for taking the conditioning program for granted.
"It's not shocking to me," Ariza told Boxing Scene last December. "That's what happens for three months when you get up at 4:30 in the morning, you do your strength and conditioning, you eat right, you train right, you focus on that, and that's what he did."
For now, it is still a toss-up whether Pacquiao is going to hire Ariza for his upcoming bout with Brandon 'Bam Bam' Rios, given the status of his relationship with Roach. Pacquiao and Rios are scheduled to face each other inside the ring in a non-weltwerweight bout on November 23 at Venetian Macao in Macau, China.