Here's a ten-minute interview with famed strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza on WLIE 540 AM in New York, as he discusses Pacquiao vs Bradley, what he thinks is preventing Pacquiao vs Mayweather, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Lamont Peterson and drug use in boxing/MMA, Sergio Martinez, and more.
Host: "We are now joined by Alex Ariza, one of the best strength and conditioning coaches known to man. Alex, how are you doing tonight?"
Alex Ariza: "Too kind, too kind. I'm doing good, how are you, buddy?"
Host: "Doing good! You're known for your work with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, Chavez Jr, you've trained Corrales in the past. Talk to us about some of these fighters, and some of the different approaches that you've had to take getting the most out of your star athletes?"
Ariza: "Rest in peace, Diego Corrales. I think I learned everything from him since I was just barely out of college when I started working with him. He was probably the most difficult athlete I ever had in terms of his weight -- being almost 6'1", fighting at 130 pounds. Pretty much everything that I do, I built around that kid."
Host: "We just had Timothy Bradley on the show, just a few minutes ago. And of course he's fighting your guy, Manny Pacquiao. How's training camp going?"
Ariza: "Training camp's going really well. Baguio, I always say, is a good place to start. So now we're here, we've been in LA, getting over the jet lag. Manny looks to me to be about going full speed, about 100% now."
Host: "You have Manny Pacquiao's fight, and then you have Chavez Jr coming up as well. Chavez Jr as we know, one of the rising stars in boxing. One of the more marketable stars. Huge following. How's his training going?"
Ariza: "It's going well. Unfortunately with Chavez being as big as he is, we have to start a little bit earlier. Thankfully Manny gave me permission to go ahead and help him out, work with him, get him going, get him started, so we wouldn't have any problems making the weight and stuff like that."
Host: "Talk to us about, for those who may not be aware of what a boxing trainer really has to do in terms of planning out a routine and implementing it, what are some of the different things you keep in mind as you plan out what would amount to be a six-to-eight week course?"
Ariza: "For me, strength and conditioning coaches, sometimes, like for me I have a great team behind me. ... Having them with me, putting the programs together, focusing on putting their diets together, and the training presence together, makes it a lot easier for me to focus on my specialty, which is obviously the strength and conditioning part. Usually it's better if you have a team of really smart people around you, so that way you guys can work together, brainstorm and put together the best program for that fighter and that fight."
Host: "When we talk about Chavez Jr, and the big fights, people always talk about Sergio Martinez. Sergio Martinez, we know, everyone around boxing they say he's a great guy, talented fighter, but he's never really gotten the name recognition or the big-money fights. Maybe due to his promoters or his management, and his talent -- he's never really gotten his due justice. Do you think he'll eventually score big fights with Cotto and Mayweather?"
Ariza: "I hope so. When I first saw him, I thought he had all the qualities of a superstar. Good fighter, great charisma, good looking guy, can fight, exciting to watch. I'm just as perplexed as anybody as to why he's not one of the biggest names in boxing right now. But unfortunately it's a numbers game. The guy who's bringing in the numbers is bringing in the money and dictating the fights. Unfortunately for him, I guess he's just not -- I don't know. That's one of the things that's out of my realm of expertise."
Host: "Speaking of your actual expertise, this week we've had a lot of controversy, a circus atmosphere, and we're talking about the testosterone that Lamont Peterson took. You are outspoken about the supplements, and how this specific testosterone, or the pellets, weren't really strong enough to make a difference. For those of us like myself, who really just read an article, what exactly are the effects of these pellets that people are talking about?"
Ariza: "Well, I can only speak about the situation as I heard it myself. My understanding is that Peterson has a testosterone deficiency, which is very, very common among men. My understanding is they said his levels were somewhere around that of an 80-year-old man. Doctors sometimes like to prescribe these slow-release pellets that release small amounts of testosterone into the system, and try to get their levels up. It's very, very rare that you can get your levels up to optimal levels using pellets instead of injections, but, you know, unfortunately he didn't disclose it, and it's kind of like spilled milk now. It's hard to go back and try to change things."
Host: "Just sticking to that point, you obviously work with MMA fighters as well. Substance abuse, performance-enhancing drugs -- do you see this really becoming a problem in MMA and boxing, and if so, do you see that as something that could potentially jeopardize some of the top, elite performers that we've come to know lately?"
Ariza: "You know, it's so funny, everyone asks that question, but it's hard for me to say if it's problematic or not, because we're not really seeing an epidemic of fighters getting caught using steroids or anything like that. And the ones that are getting caught are reprimanded and suspended and things like that. I don't know if that's going to be a problem, or do I foresee it, because I don't know if fighters are willing to take the risk. Especially in MMA, where fighters are not making a lot of lot of money. They can't afford to be suspended for six months to a year for a bad blood test. So do I see fighters really getting involved in it? I don't know. In the boxing game, I can't say either, because taking steroids and things like that, is going to increase the weight, and increase muscle obviously, and as everybody knows, it's almost an epidemic now that fighters aren't making weight. So I don't know why they would try to make things more difficult."
Host: "When we talk about MMA and we talk about boxing, the biggest fight that everyone wants to see, of course, is Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. It's a fight that people have been talking about for over two years now. From our side, it doesn't seem like it's going to happen. Whether it's really Bob Arum or just Floyd Mayweather's crazy demands. A lot of fans are switching to UFC for real blood and less drama. What's your take on this fight? Is it ever going to happen and -- do you think that the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight's ever gonna happen?"
Ariza: "That's a good question. If it was gonna happen, it should have happened already. I think Mayweather said it best after his fight, as to what the world wants to know, why they're there, and why the fight's not happening. Fighters are supposed to fight, promoters are supposed to promote, and they're supposed to do it within the best interest of the fighter, not within their best interest. Unfortunately I'm not privy to what goes on behind closed doors, I'm on this end over here. I don't know. I hope just as much as everybody else wishes. I know Manny wants the fight, I know Floyd wants the fight. You can only do so much."