MACAU – Just as Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios are set to engage in a big-time brawl, trainers Freddie Roach and Robert Garcia decided to bury the hatchet.
Pacquiao’s longtime trainer disclosed he and Garcia already talked to each other and apologized for their heated exchange of words that led to a scuffle between members of both teams on Wednesday morning.
“He came to me and said I’m sorry for what happened,” said the 53-year-old Hall of Fame trainer on the eve of the match between Pacquiao and Rios.
“He was nice and we’re both cordial. We wish it didn’t happen.”
The two engaged in a shouting match at the basement gym of the Venetian Hotel here after Roach confronted Garcia for overlapping into the scheduled training period of Pacquiao.
The incident later led to Alex Ariza, the former strength and conditioning coach of Pacquiao who’s now with the Rios camp, giving Roach a kick in the mid-section.
Although apologies had been exchanged, both camps were not warm to each other during Saturday’s official weigh-in.
Ariza was on the same stage as the rest of Rios’ team, but obviously ignored by the camp of Pacquiao.
“Manny shook hands with everybody (in Rios’ team), except for Alex,” said longtime boxing publicist Fred Sternburg.
Apparently, Roach already exonerated Garcia for the incident but not Ariza, with whom he worked with at the Wild Card gym for five years.
“He (Garcia) really wasn’t part of the altercation. He just got a little hot-speaking, but he didn’t kick me. Someone else did,” said the veteran trainer.