MACAU – Just after doing the mitts with Freddie Roach in training Wednesday afternoon, Manny Pacquiao playfully mocked his Hall of Fame trainer by trying to kick him in the midsection.
Just about everyone inside the room where the makeshift gym was set up got the drift and laughed, well aware of the incident that transpired in that same place just hours ago involving Roach, Brandon Rios' head trainer Robert Garcia, and Pacquiao's former conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
For Roach, it was but the sign he’s been waiting for.
“I’m happy now. My biggest concern is bothering him (Pacquiao). As long as it didn’t bother him, it’s okay,” said Roach, who got a kick in the mid-section from Ariza during the scuffle.
[For full story, see Freddie Roach scuffles with Rios' trainer, Ariza in Macau]
The 34-year-old Pacquiao hardly looked bothered by the scuffle that marred his pre-training schedule following the exchange of words between Roach, Garcia, and Ariza.
They Said It!
“I’m happy now. My biggest concern is bothering (Pacquiao). As long as it didn’t bother him, it’s okay." - Freddie Roach
At one-time, Pacquiao even did the mitts with sparmate Liam Vaughn instead of assistant trainer Marvin Somodio.
“Manny’s fine,” said Roach, 53. “He’s ready to fight, and I’m not worried about that.”
But he’s certainly not fine with the Rios camp, especially Ariza, who worked as Pacquiao's conditioning coach since 2008 until he was fired later this year.
Roach insisted he was right to ask the group to leave since it’s already Pacquiao’s time to train at the gym.
And the five-time Trainer of the Year said Garcia and Co. are now trying to turn the incident into a racial issue after Roach allegedly alluded to training assistant Donald Leary as a "stupid Mexican."
"Now they’re trying to make it a racial issue. If anybody calls me racist I don’t care. I don’t like those guys, they’re bad people, they’re wrong. We’re in the right, it’s our time,” said Roach.
As for Ariza, Roach appeared to have closed the door on his one-time assistant, who he said kicked him `like a f____ing girl.’
“I don’t intend to talk to him anyway because I don’t like him as a person,” he said. “I think he does a shitty job because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. His knowledge of the sport is limited.”