LAS VEGAS – The widening rift between Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza has become a concern for Manny Pacquiao’s camp as it continues to simmer ahead of his welterweight title defense against American Timothy Bradley.
Five days before the 12-round title bout, Roach, 52, insists that he won’t allow Ariza to work Pacquiao’s corner, reiterating the same stand he made during the third installment of the Pacquiao-Bradley 24/7 program over HBO.
The misunderstanding was an offshoot of the incident that erupted just two weeks into the Filipino champion’s training camp in Baguio City, when Ariza hurriedly left for Mexico to work with unbeaten Julio Cesar Chavez.
Although the well-known strength and conditioning coach claimed he had the blessing of Pacquiao, his departure did not sit well with Roach who said he was not informed about the matter.
Roach has been going ballistic lately and has stood his ground that he does not want Ariza to have anything to do with the Pacquiao-Bradley fight.
“If it’s my choice [Ariza] won’t be (going up the ring), but if Manny overrules me, there could be a slight problem because (cut man) Miguel Diaz won’t be working with me if he (Ariza) is in the corner. [Ariza] gets in the way and won’t let him do his job,” said Pacquiao’s celebrated trainer.
Aside from being a conditioning coach, Ariza had also been doubling as cut man for Pacquiao in several of his past fights.
Ariza was at the Wild Card gym during the last day of training camp in Los Angeles, supervising Pacquiao as the deadly southpaw did the treadmill. But he was nowhere to be found the moment the Filipino began sparring, his job as conditioning coach assumed by soft-spoken Filipino Marvin Somodio.
But if he does not get his way, Roach said he is willing to compromise and allow Ariza to work with him on fight night – under one condition.
“If he does, I’ll have to give instruction to shut his mouth and let Miguel do his job,” said Roach.