By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing: There’s a cold chill filtering through the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood . As eight-time world champion Manny Pacquiao prepares for his June 9 title bout with undefeated Timothy Bradley, trainer Freddie Roach and conditioning coach Alex Ariza avoid each other like a soon to be divorced couple.
Roach was annoyed at Ariza’s decision to
leave Pacquiao a few weeks after camp commenced in the Philippines .
Ariza left to work with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. who subsequently fired
him. Ariza, also lost his job with junior welterweight champion Amir
Khan a few months ago. Roach mentioned the Ariza disagreement on a
recent episode of HBO’s 24/7 reality series. He also stated the Pacquiao
should consider firing the headline loving coach.
thought he was irreplaceable. Khan and Chavez brought in new coaches
within days of his departure. Nobody doubts that Ariza is – or was, a
good conditioning coach. His innovative methods have helped Pacquiao
greatly. His mouth hasn’t. Ariza needs to figure out why Pacquiao’s legs
cramped up during his last two bouts. That’s his job.
the first time a member of the Pacquiao team has turned into a diva.
Last year advisor Michael Koncz couldn’t keep his trap shut. Ariza
eventually called out Koncz. Is it Koncz' turn to stomp on Ariza?
has stepped up his own visibility in the last few months. His criticism
of promoter Bob Arum raised eyebrows. His importance (at least in his
own mind) has tripled. In a way, he reminds this writer of a mafia
soldier with too much ambition. The soldier makes bad decisions and
ultimately pays a heavy price. Is Ariza going down that path?
Pacquaio has ordered Ariza to keep quiet. For once, he’s listening. Pacquiao insisted yesterday that everything was fine.
think this is not a problem," Pacquiao said. “I told Alex to read the
Bible, and he's reading the Bible everyday. If you read the Bible
everyday, you understand ... love and patience."
devotion to his team is admirable. He thrives on loyalty. He refers to
Roach as his “master.” The drama seems to bother everyone but Pacquiao.
After God, Pacquiao answers to no one.
"I'm the one who makes the decisions,” said Pacquiao.
We shall see.
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