Tuesday, November 19, 2013
It was training as usual on Tuesday for the lead up to Saturday’s Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) versus Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) fight in Macau, China. Then around 11:20 a.m. some shenanigans took place at the neutral training facility procured by Top Rank Inc., an eight rounder without the fisticuffs.
Robert Garcia’s group agreed to train their fighter, Rios, at this facility between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m on Tuesday, November 19, 2013, knowing full well the Pacquiao camp would be arriving at 11:00 a.m. for their scheduled training. Both parties were fully aware of the agreement. Part of being a professional is the management of your time and respecting agreements such as this.
At 11:20 a.m that morning, it appeared the Rios’ support staff to include their boxer had no intention of vacating the facility or honoring their agreement. As a matter of fact, Rios had just begun a 20 minute stretch on one of those cardio fitness workout machines and Garcia had just begun an interview with a young lady from a Philippine TV station. With this utter disregard for their opponent’s workout time, it would appear they were trying to bait their rival into a confrontation.
Upon entering the gym, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, was justifiably appalled at the lackadaisical attitude and knew full well Garcia and his people had no intention of vacating anytime soon. It appeared as though they were planning on staying a good while longer – perhaps up to an hour.
For the above reason Roach then became like a pot on the stove, getting hotter and hotter and ready to boil over. That’s when the heated words were exchanged, the name calling. With their past history, there was a fair amount of that from both parties. “Your time is up, get out!” Garcia’s camp, which included a former employee, Alex Ariza, fired back, “No, you get out, You’re not in the Wild Card gym!”
It was time for the Rios group to skid-addle, take their gear and move out of our way. Should more gentile phrases been used? Of course. But these are combatants, they are not “choir boys” from of the same church.
If their intent was to prevent their opponent from having a beneficial workout than these clowns needed to be removed, even if by force. Someone should have called the gym owner or the few security people on hand should have reacted more forcibly.
Alex Ariza looks like an even bigger baby. When Roach approached him, he then kicked the older man square on the chest. The justification he used was laughable, “He came at me!”
“the police need to be called, that’s assault” shouted a member of the Freddie Roach camp. Roach agreed and said the same thing as he was led off to the establishment’s business office. Out came the profanities,”he’s a B…., he’s a fag…!” One detractor called the other, “a puss!”
Somewhere in the fight game by-laws, there’s a proviso, that states you’re never to involve the authorities. That you settle all matters man to man. The same way Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Larry Merchant settled their problem, “If I was 50 years younger, I would kick your ass!” That’s machismo! Merchant was able to talk the talk but he never had to walk the walk.
Garcia remained cool, calm and collective as he sat on the ring’s apron savvy to the fact Roach would not be hitting anyone. After all, he just wanted to lecture Garcia about professional courtesy. Garcia knew that. It was all a setup, a conflict of articulation that he had orchestrated and could easily manipulate to make him look like the victim.
A much shorter gent from the Garcia camp, Donald Kery (who they later claimed was Irish) entered the fray. He went ballistic after Roach called him a “Mexican.” Question: if he wasn’t Mexican, why did he get so mad?
His intent was to escalate matters. Surely the passions and scowls needed to be taken up a notch. With the much shorter Kery in the mix, we now saw some security guards grabbing and restraining people while Garcia and Roach continue to voice their war of words.
With the help of security, the parties are separated and within seconds the Press is clamoring to get both sides of the story. At 5’5” tall and his heart all a flutter, the 53 year-old Roach, now in a private office, is interviewed. He gives his side of the story.
Moments later, they interview the disillusioned Garcia and fretful Alex Ariza. Both should have been given an Emmy Award for their performance. Still, neither gentleman nor their entourage have yet to make one step towards the door to leave.
The ultimate winner in this fracas? Despite making both Ariza and Roach resemble the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz, the Rios camp succeeded in delaying the Pacquiao workout. It’s likely the renewed tension boosted the sagging Pay-per-view sales.
Will the Rios camp be as fun loving after Saturday night’s contest? The match that really counts. That is yet to be determined.