by Aleli Delima
Macau – Freddie Roach got involved in an ugly fight with counterpart Robert Garcia and conditioning coach Alex Ariza over the use of the gym facilities yesterday, four days before their respective fighters were scheduled to take on each other.
In a bizarre incident that took place at a little past 11 in the morning, Roach engaged Garcia in a verbal tussle and got kicked on the chest by Ariza when things went overboard.
Donald Leary, training assistant of Rios, also joined the fray and threatened to go after Roach as security people and cooler heads tried desperately to calm them down.
It all started when Roach approached Garcia and asked him to pack his bags and go since it was already their time to train.
Top Rank had set Rios’ training schedule from 9-11 a.m. and Pacquiao from 11 onwards.
Roach’s Nasty Stuff
Roach uttered some nasty stuff to Garcia, who responded in kind when Ariza suddenly entered the scene and hurled invectives at Roach and even mocked the way Roach, who has Parkinson’s disease, spoke.
“I told him that it’s our time (to train) and he told me to f___ myself,” said Roach.
Garcia said Rios wasn’t done yet because of a TV interview that ate up their training time and that they still needed 30 minutes to wrap things up.
“That’s not my fault,” said Roach, who continued to engage Garcia in a shouting match.
Garcia did not let up in his verbal tirade and Ariza got himself involved, prompting Roach to come near him and challenge him (Ariza) to “throw me out.”
Ariza blew his top and planted a kick on Roach, who was thrown a few feet away but never floored.
‘He Cocked His Fists’
Ariza later admitted kicking Roach, who is 53, but said he had no regrets ahead of Sunday’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title fight.
“You could see the way he (Roach) came in he wanted to kick something off,” he said on the footage posted on YouTube by SecondsOut.com.
“He cocked his fists back, and to me that’s a sign of aggression coming toward me. He got physical and he came at me, and yeah, he got a front kick in the chest.
“When you raise your fists at somebody the other person has a right to defend themselves and that’s what I was doing.”
Ariza ‘Kicked Me Like A Girl’ – Roach
Roach said Ariza “kicked me like a girl” as the two sides continued to taunt each other beside the training ring set up in the Macau gym.
There is genuine bad blood between the two camps stretching back to 2010 when Pacquiao fought Antonio Margarito.
In a video that went viral, Rios was seen mocking Roach’s manner of speaking as Garcia and some of their team members horse around like bullies.
Adding fuel to the fire was Ariza’s sacking a few months ago and his eventual team up with Rios as the fighter’s new strength coach.
Despite the incident, it was business as usual when Roach finally got into the ring for training with Pacquiao later in the afternoon.
Pacquiao, who wasn’t around when the fight erupted, took a different approach on the issue when asked by reporters.
Pacquiao even re-enacted Ariza’s assault on Roach, sending Roach and members of Team Pacquiao in stitches.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum shrugged off the altercation between the two camps.
“We have a fight already and it’s still a few days out,” he said, according to Yahoo Sports.