Manny Pacquiao’s conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, is writing checks with his mouth that his fighter’s fists will ultimately have to cash.
Although many have billed Pacquiao’s upcoming November bout versus Juan Manuel Marquez as the epic conclusion to what will be regarded as one of the better trilogies of the last decade, Pacquiao’s own conditioning coach doesn’t foresee much of a challenge. In fact, he thinks Pacquiao will pummel Marquez into oblivion so much so that this match will be easier for the Congressman than the prior two.
Why will Pacquiao be so much better? Because of Ariza’s involvement, of course.
“Those are the fights when I wasn't with him you know? He had a lot of those ailments. He had a lot of leg problems, he had shoulder problems,” Ariza told FightHype.
Furthermore, Ariza insists that his guy is now healthier than he was the first two times around.
“He had to make moves and adjustments because of his leg [injury], so he won't have to make those. He'll be able to use the angle that he wants to use if he wants to use them. If he wants to go in and just go toe-to-toe and knock this dude out early, he'll be able to do that.”
As easy as it is to poke fun at Ariza’s delusions of grandeur, there is no denying that he’s mostly correct. Pacquiao is a much more polished fighter these days, much more deadly. His recent history of destroying the opponents that were man enough to actually stand in the center of the ring (read: not Shane Mosley) and accept the brunt of the Filipino superstar’s punishment is example enough of that. Furthermore, he has largely stayed healthy as a result of excellent training by Freddie Roach and, yes, Ariza.
Still, given the history involved between Pacquiao and Marquez, Ariza has to give the latter some sort of shot at winning, right? Just out of respect for the fighters involved, if nothing else.
“Manny's a whole different fighter than back in those days,” said Ariza. “Marquez is going to get wrecked.”