It might be stifling hot in the glorified broom closet where Manny Pacquiao wraps his hands and changes into training gear, but there’s a chill elsewhere at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood.
Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach is not pleased with Pacquiao conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Roach, perturbed at Ariza for leaving Pacquiao during the early portion of their training camp in the Philippines, has mentioned the possibility of a future without Ariza on HBO’s “24/7" reality series. Boxing regulars take note, as Roach has, that Ariza has appeared to overstep his role in the corner of Pacquiao and in perhaps seeking to publicize himself.
Ariza on Wednesday declined to comment about any friction, saying he’d been told by Pacquiao to keep quiet.
Clearly aiming to lower his profile in the HBO drama, Ariza has regularly been wearing a black T-shirt in the gym promoting rival network Showtime’s “Fight Camp 360" show that previewed Pacquiao’s May 2011 fight against Shane Mosley.
“I think this is not a problem,” Pacquiao said Wednesday. “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.”
While Pacquiao’s training has been defined by his newfound intense devotion to religion, Roach chafed at Ariza for departing the Philippines to reportedly work with another Roach-trained fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Ariza, however, might have been tending to his now separated relationship with former light-welterweight world champion Amir Khan.
Ariza contends he only left the Philippines with Pacquiao’s blessing. Ariza now supervises Pacquiao’s conditioning down to the finer detail of preparing the welterweight champion’s dinner each evening.
If he had to choose between Roach, who Pacquiao has referred to as his “master,” or Ariza, Pacquiao didn’t answer.
He said he’s aware of what’s happening in camp, adding, “I’m the one who makes the decisions.”