Former Manny Pacquiao strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, has been bouncing around boxing camps more often than Rihanna and Kim Kardashian have been doing so around rappers and basketball players these past few years.
Recently, Ariza got the boot once again from his most recent high profile client, Marcos Maidana, who announced he would no longer be working with the controversial trainer heading to his rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. this September.
Ariza is said to be one of the best in the business at what he does, but one has to wonder why boxing camps tell him to "keep out" after a few fights.
“I’m not worried about this at all. Alex Ariza is great at what he does. I still say he’s the best at what he does. He knows his stuff, he knows how to prepare the guys," said Maidana's trainer, Robert Garcia in an interview published on BoxingScene.
After contentions from some of his top fighters like Brandon Rios, however, Garcia has opted to revert back to their traditional style of training and scrap Ariza's methods. "When we brought in a strength and conditioning that is when I started losing fights," Rios shouted out in a recent interview. Rios started working with Ariza prior to his rematch with Mike Alvarado, which he lost and then lost another bout to Pacquiao while testing positive for a banned substance after the fight.
“We can still do it without Ariza or anyone else. Just doing what we do in the mornings, I became a world champion without a conditioning coach. Fernando Vargas became a world champion without a conditioning coach. When the conditioning coach started coming in, that’s when Fernando started having his losses. Brandon, the conditioning coach, that’s when he lost to Alvarado. So it’s not really about ‘it’s Alex Ariza and that’s why you’re winning the fights’," Garcia added on.
Ariza has also found himself in the middle of a few ugly incidents involving his former clients like the one he had with Amir Khan prior to his bout with Maidana in 2010, punching Pacquiao's advisor back in 2009, on top many controversial comments he has aired out through the media. Ariza's biggest bonehead move to date, however, is when he made fun of his former boss, Freddie Roach, mimicking his Parkinson's Disease after kicking him on the chest in front of cameras prior to the Pacquiao-Rios bout in Macau.
If Garcia's comments suggested that his services are unnecessary in boxing, Ariza's long list of antics suggest him to be an unnecessary distraction and potential source of bad publicity.
Is Ariza more of a detriment than a factor to an elite fighter? Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, Brandon Rios have sided toward the former. Being fired and landing a new gig elsewhere isn't something new to Ariza though, so I don't expect seeing the last of him around boxing.
PS: Incidentally, I found a listing on Craigslist for a "Boxing Strength and Conditioning Coach for hire" in the LA area with a picture of Ariza. Hey, I guess people need to pay their bills.