Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach was involved in a physical bust-up with Brandon Rios’s team as the build-up to this weekend’s title showdown turned ugly on Wednesday.
Footage showed an angry, expletive-laden row followed by Rios’s conditioning coach Alex Ariza kicking Roach in the chest as the veteran trainer steps towards him at the boxing gym in Venetian Hotel in Macau, China.
Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Roach and his group went to the gym, where Pacquiao was scheduled to train at around 11 a.m. But Robert Garcia and his boxer Mexican-American Brandon Rios were not done yet.
Roach approached Garcia, who was being interviewed by reporters and asked them to leave.
“We got 30 more minutes,” Garcia replied. Roach said: No you don’t, you only got until 11 o’ clock.”
Garcia answered back: “We’ll, we were here because we got some interviews with the ESPN and we ain’t going nowhere.”
“That’s not my fault,” Roach said, “Get the f’*** out of here.”
Ariza joined the altercation, yelling at Roach. Moments later, Ariza kicked Roach below his chest.
Pacquiao’s conditioning coach Gavin McMillan held back Roach and shouted at Ariza “That’s an assault! That’s assault!”
The gym’s security separated the two groups.
All the while, Rios, who will face Pacquiao on Saturday at the Venetian Hotel, was riding a stationary bike.
Pacquiao was not around too. Roach said Garcia’s racist remarks triggered the incident. Garcia claimed it was Roach who started the trouble.
“He could have just sat down, waited. His fighter’s not even here,” said Garcia to SecondsOut.com site “He just wanted to start that little fight.”
Ariza later admitted kicking Roach, who is 53 and suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, 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 towards 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.”
Roach said Ariza “kicked me like a girl” as the two sides continued to taunt each other beside the training ring.
There is bad blood between after Rios did an impression of Roach that infuriated the celebrity trainer because he said it mocked his Parkinson’s Disease.
Pacquiao, 34, is hoping to bounce back from two successive defeats when he faces the 27-year-old Rios on Sunday morning.
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.
AFP and Josef T. Ramos