Alex Ariza says that Manny Pacquiao isn't doing his strength and conditioning program in training camp for his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, focusing solely on the boxing program.
Marcos Villegas, The Boxing Channel: "Alex, main topic on everybody's mind about this fight, this new Marquez 2.0. His new physique, his new figure. What do you say about it? Because I know there's been a lot of talk and some comments from Freddie (Roach), who believes that there might be PEDs involved due to his trainer's past."
Alex Ariza: "To me, it's not unusual. That's what's supposed to happen when you train, you follow a program, you have an educated, experienced trainer like Heredia. I have a lot of respect for the work that they did and the work that they've done. I don't have any problem with the way it is. I think that's the way it should be. And it impresses me, for sure."
Villegas: "Is that something that may worry you, or does it worry Manny at all, seeing how his physique has changed?"
Ariza: "Yeah, it worries me. Whether or not it worries Manny or not -- listen, this guy's not an ex-bodybuilder, he's not an ex-wrestler, he's not a conditioning coach from a football. He's a guy who was a strength and conditioning coach for a very prominent track team, and a successful one. For whatever happened during that course, he knows about speed. He knows how to put on muscle that's functional. So for me, knowing that what he's doing, he's doing it right, yeah, it's a concern for me."
Villegas: "Did you notice any functional differences in Marquez, and did Manny mention anything in the third fight, that he wasn't expecting from Marquez due to that new training regimen?"
Ariza: "Well, I think everybody says because of the size of Marquez, that he's slow, he's this, he's that. I didn't see him slow when he fought Manny. And I can guarantee whatever mistakes Heredia may have made for that fight with Manny, he's had two fights to fix them. And I think he'll come back even better."
Villegas: "Looking at Manny now, what do you have him doing that's different from the other camps? I'm hearing that he looks sensational, that he hasn't looked this great in a really, really long time."
Ariza: "I think Manny always looks great in camp. When it comes fight night with Marquez, it seems things fall apart. They've stuck to the boxing program more for this camp. It's one of those things, I hate saying something in the middle of camp, because he always looks good in camp. He's always looked great to me in camp. What matters is what happens on December 8."
Villegas: "Why do you think camp hasn't translated into the ring recently with his fights?"
Ariza: "Of course I'm gonna say because we're not focusing on his strength and conditioning program as much as we did in the past. When I look at what made us successful in the past, and I'm looking at what's not making us successful, that's the only common denominator that's not involved. I have to assume that that's what it is."
Villegas: "Is it something that he's now doing in this camp?"
Ariza: "No, it's not. He's just going to focus on the boxing and the strategy of the fight."
Villegas: "That has to drive you crazy."
Ariza: "You know, you can only push your agenda so long, then you have to support whatever it is that they ultimately come up with to do, to train."
Villegas: "With the boxing program now, what's going on with that? Is he solely focusing on technique, on counter-punching, on setting up traps?"
Ariza: "No, he's going to try to do, like they said, bring back the old Manny, try to do a lot of volume punching, combinations, angles, not have the fight dictated to him, the pace. Again, we have to see on December 8."
Villegas: "Another issue that usually comes up as well is Manny's cramps, his legs. How are you adjusting this problem to more or less avoid it the night of the fight?"
Ariza: "Clearly, I haven't been able to figure it out for the last couple of fights. But I always thought it was the absence of strength and conditioning. I got in touch with an expert who works with professional basketball players, and she's been focusing on Manny the last couple of weeks. We haven't had any problems since. We had a lot of cramps earlier in camp for the first time during training, that we never had. But since she's been working with him, we've been OK."
Villegas: "People might say that it's an issue to do with age, his legs are not what they used to be. What would you say regarding people that make that comment?"
Ariza: "I think you have to go back and look at the past, the five fights from David Diaz, all the way to Clottey through Margarito, where we had no problems through all those fights. What did we do different? Why all of a sudden are we having those cramps again? We're not doing strength and conditioning. So to me that has to be the answer. Until we do the whole thing that we used to do, until we complete that course again, we won't know."