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Has Freddie Roach’s plan backfired?



Manny Pacquiao’s hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach would have liked nothing better than to see dissension in the ranks at Camp Rios. Freddie hoped the likelihood of that happening would increase dramatically with the addition of Alex Ariza to the team. Freddie made headlines when he fired Ariza from the Pacman team. Freddie explained Ariza was a disruption to training activities, a troublemaker who couldn’t get along with anyone.

An interesting point about this whole mess seemed to be that Manny expressed no dissatisfaction with Ariza; although, he did feel he had to honor Freddie’s wish and agree to Ariza’s dismissal. Therefore, Ariza got the heave ho. Soon after, Ariza latched on to the job of training Brandon Rios for his big fight against Pacquiao. When Freddie got the news, he apparently thought (and hoped) Ariza would have a disruptive influence with the Rios Team.

Initially, it looked as though that might be the case. Head trainer Robert Garcia acknowledged Ariza had been added to the team, but he wasn’t exactly jumping for joy. His first words about the addition of Ariza were guarded. He had heard some of the criticism about Ariza attempting to usurp the duties of others. If true, Garcia wasn’t about to let the same kind of thing occur in his camp.

Freddie must have felt disappointment, because there hasn’t been any hint of a problem in the Rios camp concerning Ariza. Things seem to be rolling along with growing confidence that Brandon will be ready and in the best shape of his life. They have prepared for Manny to be at his best,, and they’re not buying into any stories to the contrary.

Now stories and video have burst into the headlines about a confrontation between Freddie and the Rios Team over access to a shared gym. Apparently the Rios Team ran over their allotted time in the gym, because of media interviews being conducted with Robert Garcia. Freddie acted as if his blood was at the boiling point. He ordered Robert and his team out, emphasizing his displeasure with provocative language. Well that heated things up considerably, and Garcia and his people weren’t about to placate Freddie. They were incensed with Freddie, who then turned his displeasure toward Ariza, who was standing a few paces away. The two exchanged some unpleasantries, and as Freddie stepped in Ariza’s direction. Ariza Reacted by kicking Freddie in the chest. Others, including security, quickly moved in, separating the parties and foiling any chance at further contact.

Whoa, Freddie was really pissed now, and wanted to go at it with Ariza. When it was obvious security wasn’t going to let that happen, Freddie then expressed a desire to have Ariza arrested for assaulting him. Was this kind of turmoil something Freddie planned? It’s no stretch to think Freddie would like nothing better than to have Ariza arrested only days away from the big event. If Freddie thinks what happened will disrupt things in the Rios camp, he might have miscalculated. Freddie seems to be the bad guy in all this, the one being unreasonable. At least according to explanations given by Robert Garcia and Alex Ariza. They explained the reason they were still in the gym was innocent enough and not intentional. It was due to circumstances beyond their control. Specifically, the media cornered them right about the end of their allotted time for use of the gym.

Consequently, Team Rios feels victimized by Freddie, and are now more united in their efforts than ever before. So, if Freddie was conniving a bit in hopes of stirring the pot, he might have miscalculated. Instead of disrupting things in the Rios camp, his actions might have motivated them to form a stronger bond of determination to win the fight. In boxing, awakening that kind of attitude can be very dangerous.