The relationship between Manny Pacquiao and Alex Ariza was always fascinating to watch. It probably mirrored that of many other fighter-strength and conditioning coaches arrangements, but because of the level that Pacquiao has been at for the past seven years, everything was amplified.
Anyone who watched Pacquiao before and after Ariza was brought on board saw a very noticeable difference. Plus, the fact that he reached his career peak under Ariza is indisputable.
That being said, it’s equally undeniable that Pacquiao’s legs haven’t been great over the past couple of years. And while Freddie Roach may have been willing to live with Ariza’s antics while he was doing what he was brought in to do, as soon as the effectiveness began to wane, so did Roach’s patience.
Earlier this year, Roach announced that he had fired Ariza.
This week, Gabriel Montaya of Maxboxing reported that “former strength-and-conditioning coach for Manny Pacquiao, Alex Ariza is now working with Brandon Rios on a two-week trial basis. Pacquiao and Rios are set to fight each other November 23 in Macao, China's Cotai Arena, live on HBO Pay-Per-View.”
Will Ariza be able to bring anything to Rios’ camp? Will he even be tolerable enough during the two-week trial basis to be brought back beyond that? Who knows. But the mere fact that he’s jumping ship like this is very telling of the way things ended between Ariza and Pacquiao’s camp. And if he does opt to behave, and if he does still have something worth sharing, it’ll be interesting to see how Rios’ camp will be boosted by having an ex-Pacquiao operative there in the two months leading up to fight night.