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Trainer Freddie Roach sued by Manny Pacquiao's former conditioning coach

Trainer Freddie Roach sued by Manny Pacquiao's former conditioning coach
Trainer Freddie Roach works with boxer Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood on April 2. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

LAS VEGAS -- Manny Pacquiao’s former strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, has sued trainer Freddie Roach for allegedly making false and defamatory statements that Ariza “gave fighters performance-enhancing drugs.”

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims Roach made the statements "on or about Jan. 9" in a video interview posted on the Internet.

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"As a result of this publication, [Ariza] has suffered and will continue to suffer monetary damages as well as irreversible injury to his reputation and image," attorney Jonathan S. Milder wrote in the five-page complaint.

Justin Fortune has reunited with Pacquiao as his conditioning coach after last working with the Filipino star in 2007.

Asked about the lawsuit Friday before Pacquiao weighed in for his Saturday welterweight title fight against Timothy Bradley, Roach said, “All I’ve said is that Manny Pacquiao respects Ariza and he respects Justin Fortune and his life’s a better deal with better work. That’s the only thing I can think of.”

The lawsuit seeks punitive damages and called Roach’s statements “negligent” and “reckless,” claiming the comments were undertaken with “fraud” and “malice.”

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