Alex Ariza Blames Manny Pacquiao Adviser For Firing Buzz
FanHouse spoke to strength trainer Alex Ariza concerning his recent firing from the camp of WBA king Amir Khan, as well as rumors concerning his alleged ouster as an assistant to five-time Trainer of The Year, Freddie Roach, and as conditioner to eight-division titlist and WBO welterweight (147 pounds) champion Manny Pacquiao.
Khan (24-1, 17 knockouts) has an HBO televised, Golden Boy Promotions April 16 bout against fellow Englishman Paul McCloskey (22-0, 12 KOs), and Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), a Showtime pay per view televised, May 7 bout against three-division, five-time champion Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) that is being promoted by Top Rank Promotions.
Ariza has worked six fights for Khan, including his Dec. 11unanimous decision over Marcos Rene Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs). Ariza joined Khan following his first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in September of 2008, after which Khan has gone 6-0, with four knockouts.
Ariza initially thought that his problem was not with Amir Khan, but that it stems from a financial dispute involving members of Khan's team in relation to compensation for Khan's victory over Maidana.
Ariza said that members of the fighter's camp broke into his Planet Hollywood Hotel room and made off with several contracts related to the coach's compensation for the boxer, but has since discovered that Amir Khan "was the one who directed" a camp member to do so.
Also an assistant to Roach with Pacquiao and junior middleweight (154 pounds) and middleweight (160 pounds) prospect Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (41-0-1, 30 KOs), among others, Ariza said that thought that the rumors about his being let go by Pacquiao were initiated by the fighter's cut man, Miguel Diaz.
Ariza acknowledged having had a dispute with Diaz during Pacquiao's November, unanimous decision victory over ex-champ Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs) for the WBC's junior middleweight belt, one which became more explosive in the aftermath of Khan's win over Maidana, for whom Diaz was the chief corner man.
In this Q&A, however, Ariza told FanHouse that he believed that the rumors of his firing by Pacquiao began with the fighter's adviser, Michael Koncz, and were later spread by Diaz.
Amir Khan's Camp Fires Strength Coach Alex Ariza
Call 'A Fraud' By Miguel Diaz, Alex Ariza Responds, 'I Don't Cheat'
FanHouse: So how did the meeting with Manny Pacquiao go concerning the rumors of you being out?
Alex Ariza: It went really well. Manny and I had spoken about the fact that he didn't know anything about it. He hadn't heard.
I just found out myself when people were telling me. And then, it was a surprise to me when they said, 'Well, Mike, are you still going to be working with him?'
What Manny told me was that he assumed that something was wrong. I said, 'You mean, with me?' And he said, 'Yeah.'
And then I asked him, I said, 'You know, Miguel Diaz is saying that 'this is going on,' and, 'that is going on?' And Manny was like, 'Well, who is Miguel Diaz?'
So Manny didn't even know his own cut man?
Well, he knows him by face and not by name. So, anyway, we sat down, and we discussed a little bit about the training.
And he said, 'We'll sit down tomorrow and we have some other things that we have to discuss. and go over.' We're working on a new website for the Filipino Olympic athletes.
We're doing it for their Olympic team and we just finished that. So there's some other things that we have to go over, but that was the gist of the conversation and everything.
Were you ever concerned because of what happened with Amir Khan (pictured below) that your ouster from Manny's camp was true?
Was I concerned with Manny? Well, no. And I'll tell you why I wasn't is that I had spoken to Manny before. I knew about Amir Khan on the Monday after the fight.
Because I had called Freddie right away and they had complained that I had made Amir sign a contract two hours before the fight, which I didn't.
I had Amir sign the contract during the week of the fight. They hadn't done it. I had given them that contract two months before the fight and they hadn't acted on it.
So of course, like they often do, they waited until the last minute, like, 'Don't worry mate, don't worry, we're going to take care of this,' which is a bunch of bullsh*t.
So when the fight week came up, I was like, 'Hey, bro', you haven't gotten back to me, I need you to sign this.' So, I had known that Khan's people had called Freddie.
They had complained to Freddie that I had them sign the contract two hours before the fight. Freddie told me that right away.
So, and then, the attorney, Nick Khan, told me that Shah Khan called him and said that I made them sign the contract and that Amir was upset and wanted to fire me.
So he said, 'Well them fire him, because I don't work for Alex or represent him. You do realize that you took a contract out of his room, though?'
Do you even care why this rumor started?
About me and Manny? Well, from what I'm understanding, and from what was told to me, and what we figured out tonight, it was started by Michael Koncz.
Manny said that he never said anything. I told him that they had said that what Freddie had told me was that Manny wanted a cut man instead of a strength and conditioning coach.
So Freddie had already given me the heads-up that, 'Alex, something is rotten in Denmark, Michael's probably trying to get you fired again.'
I would just say that it was brought to my attention that the rumors started with Michael Koncz. The information, from what was told to me tonight, was that it came from Michael Koncz.
Who told you that?
Several team members of Team Pacquiao who are in the Philippines have told me that it was Michael Koncz and that he had probably planted the seed four months ago.
You and Michael Koncz have had a fight before correct?
That was during the Miguel Cotto camp. It was a disagreement, obviously, and Michael and I had never been good friends or anything like that.
Manny Pacquiao, the night before, I think he and Freddie had gotten together the night before and decided that I was going to be the assistant in the corner.
Michael used to take my credentials, and I didn't have a credential for the locker room, and I was always the last guy off the lists or whatever the case may be.
So, Manny said, 'You don't have to worry about it any more because you're going to be working the corner.' So I went to go and have dinner with Freddie.
Freddie said that Michael had told him that Manny wanted to have me removed from the corner. So I went back and I asked Manny, and Manny was like, 'I don't know what you're talking about.'
So then I said, 'Michael just went to Freddie and said that you want me out of the corner.' He goes, 'No, I did not.' And that's when I f**king lost it.
What happened between you and Michael from there?
I went and I f**king smacked him. I smacked him good. That was the end of it. At the time, there were some secret service guys or government body guards or whatever and they jumped on me.
Manny stepped in and says, 'Hey, you're going to focus on what you do, and Michael's going to focus on what he does,' and, you know.
I had just had it with the guy always doing sh, I was like, I had just had it with the guy always doing sh*t to me.
He was always, you know, not undermining me before I was even close to Manny.
But he was always trying to get me out of there, but Manny kept bringing me back, obviously. But, we had made a truce that we were going to put whatever our difference were aside.
We were going to do whatever is best for Manny and to cause less distractions. We were going to put that behind us and to be more professional.
I suspected everything was going well. We didn't have any problems in the last camp. The last fight, he had been really good to me. He even got a hotel room for my mom and my sister.
Then, the news was broken to me that it was him. I'm shocked. I'm shocked that it was his agenda to get me out of there again.
But somebody said to me today, you know, 'The nicer he is to you, the deeper the knife is going to be in your back.'
I was really disappointed today to find out that it was Michael Koncz that was behind all of this again. Lots and lots of people have reached out to me and asked if I have an opinion about Michael Koncz.
But I didn't, since we had already had some sort of an agreement that we're not going to make any public comments. So I'm a little shocked at how this has played out.
Everybody sort of right away told me what he was doing and I was just a little shocked and disappointed. I thought that we had gotten past that, but, apparently, we haven't.
How do you resolve all of this, moving forward?
You know what, I'm not going to resolve anything or address it with him. I have other things right now that I'm trying to get going, especially the website for the Filipino athletes.
I'm working on stuff like that for the Olympic team that Manny and I have been working on for about six months, so, I just don't want anything to disrupt that process right now.
So, Manny and I are obviously good, we spoke tonight, and as long as we're good, and he didn't know anything about what was going on, I'm just going to move on.
I'm just going to focus on this fight and getting Manny in the best possible shape and I'm going to assume that we're going to be fighting the best Shane Mosley that there is.