Don’t think Freddie Roach was acting in Rios camp melee
Some things aren’t forgivable.
That’s the resounding thought that echoes from the video of Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach igniting a confrontation with Brandon Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia and conditioning coach Alex Ariza on Wednesday in Macao, China.
Roach told me a few months ago that he had come to peace with Rios after the boxer, in a video shot three years ago by Elie Seckbach, mocked the trainer’s Parkinson’s symptoms with Garcia and then-Pacquiao opponent Antonio Margarito in the scene.
Yet, Wednesday, as Rios worked to conclude a planned two-hour training session inside a gym Pacquiao was supposed to use right afterward, Roach entered and exchanged immediate unpleasant words with Garcia, ordering him to leave the premises.
“This ain’t Wild Card,” chimed in Ariza, who formerly was Pacquiao’s conditioning coach at the Hollywood-based gym but now has shifted to Garcia’s Oxnard-based stable that includes Rios.
Roach came toward Ariza, whom he effectively fired last year, and Ariza said Roach “cocked his fist,” so Ariza kicked Roach in the chest, prompting Roach to ask Chinese security to arrest Ariza for assault.
In a video of the confrontation Ariza is heard making stuttering sounds apparently to ridicule Roach’s deteriorating health.
According to Garcia, Roach made racist comments to a Latino member of the Rios team and to video reporter Seckbach, who is Jewish. Seckbach later told Roach, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
“Rational, professional people don’t do that,” Ariza told another video reporter. “He came in here with an attitude. I regret he couldn’t act professional.”
Surprisingly, Rios, who has displayed a hair-trigger temper in the past, stayed mostly out of the fray.
But Roach was visibly heated and had to be repeatedly restrained, barking to Ariza, “I’m sorry I took all the credit for your wins.”
While some speculated that the fireworks might have been scripted for a bout lacking the usual buzz of a Pacquiao fight due to its distant locale, Roach isn’t the kind to act.
Roach thought Ariza overstepped his bounds in conditioning Pacquiao and wasn’t effective in preparing the star, who suffering through leg cramps in recent fights.
The trainer and coach wouldn’t even talk before their most recent Pacquiao fight.
One thing to keep in mind: After Rios and Margarito made fun of Roach three years ago, Pacquiao so brutally beat down Margarito in their fight at Cowboys Stadium that Margarito was found on a stretcher with ice packs all over his body after the bout, and he struggled to regain good vision in one eye.
Many believe that was Pacquiao’s form of retaliation for his beloved coach.
Saturday night on HBO pay-per-view, Pacquiao fights Rios.
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