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article imageOp-Ed: Alex Ariza's presence in Rios camp could fire up Pacquiao, Roach

By Leo Reyes     Sep 25, 2013 in Sports
Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Ariza's presence in the camp of Brandon Rios at Robert Garcia's Gym in Oxnard could work in favor of Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach as they plunge into heightened training leading up to their November fight.
Ariza, who served as Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach since 2008, was recently fired by Freddie Roach for work-related issues such as doing things he is not supposed to do before and during the fight.
Reports seem to indicate that Roach has not officially assigned a professional strength and conditioning coach to replace Ariza, who is now working with trainer Robert Garcia to prepare Rios for his upcoming fight with Pacquiao in Macau, China.
Pacquiao's official website said Assistant Trainer, Buboy Fernandez is currently handling the strength and conditioning job left by Ariza.
Roach, who is busy preparing former Pacquiao foe Miguel Cotto for his ring return against Delvin Rodriguez on October 5, is scheduled to arrive in Manila right after the fight to start the formal training of Pacquiao in General Santos City in Southern Philippines.
Strength and conditioning are two of the most important phases of Pacquiao's training and if it is true that Roach has not assigned a professional coach to revitalize Pacquiao's health, following his two straight losses, it will likely take its toll on the eight-division champ as he moves closer to the day of the fight.
While it is true that the reported move of Ariza over to the camp of Rios could be a cause of distraction for Pacquiao as it could have some psychological effects on the Filipino star, it could also fire up Pacquiao as well as trainer Roach to prove to Ariza that they can be better off without him.
Garcia did not say whether Ariza will join him and Rios in Macau during the fight.
Pacquiao and Ariza have developed friendship in their past training camps and there were talks that Pacquiao did not really want Ariza to go but he had to side with Roach on the issue at hand. Read more.
Despite the friendship that blossomed over the years since 2008, Ariza blamed Pacquiao for not talking to him before he was fired by Roach which led to his decision to join the Rios camp.
Still, critics say Ariza should not have joined Rios' camp and use whatever information or knowledge he had gained that would reveal Pacquiao's strength and weaknesses to Robert Garcia, Rios's trainer and coach. By doing so, he seems to have betrayed Pacquiao, his friend and benefactor.
It is doubtful though if Ariza could indeed reveal to Rios's camp what he knows as former strength and conditioning coach of Pacquiao. But no one can prevent him from doing so and exposing Pacquiao's blueprint for Garcia's strategists to feast on.
Garcia, who admitted that no one in his camp favors his decision to hire Ariza, said that he will fire the controversial strength and conditioning coach if he does things other than the ones directly related to his job.
Apparently, Roach had anticipated Ariza's expose' of Pacquiao's strength and weaknesses and by the time he joins Pacquiao in training camp after October 5, he may have devise a foolproof plan to make sure he gets even with Garcia and Rios for the disrespect the hall of fame coach suffered when they appeared to have mocked him on video for having Parkinson's.
With an old issue to settle with the Rios camp and with Ariza's turning his back on Pacquaio, Roach is expected to put his reputation on the line by providing Pacquiao everything he needs in order to beat Rios and prove to Ariza that he and Pacquiao can do better without him.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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