Is Alex Ariza on a short leash with Team Pacquiao? (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Lem Satterfield reports that the drama in Manny Pacquiao's corner between trainer Freddie Roach, cut man Miguel Diaz, and strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza appears to be settled, as the fighter has intervened and made the call that Ariza will still work the corner. Diaz, however, will be on the apron, and Ariza reportedly will not be.
It's been the only real "controversy" for Team Pacquiao head into tomorrow night's Pacquiao vs Bradley fight on HBO pay-per-view.
"I have already talked to Freddie and Alex Ariza," said Pacquiao, downplaying any notion of turmoil. "Everything is okay, and it's fine. I will focus on Freddie. Alex will be in the corner."
Ariza says he's been asked not to comment publicly. The outspoken fitness guru has also been feuding with promoter Bob Arum recently, and says he's been banned from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr's team ahead of Chavez's fight on June 16 with Andy Lee. Ariza was also recently fired by Amir Khan, who faces Danny Garcia on July 14.
Diaz, who has called Ariza a "fraud" but makes clear he doesn't mean that Ariza cheats, says that Alex won't handle the cuts, as he has done in the recent past:
"I'm up, and Alex is down. I'm working the apron and Alex is down," said Diaz. "He'll be carrying the buckets and whatever else there is to do. That's all. No problem."
From an outsider's perspective, it seems only a matter of time before Ariza is gone from Team Pacquiao, if there is a Team Pacquiao for much longer, anyway. He probably talks too much for his own good, is too brash for his own good, too arrogant for some peoples' tastes. I don't think there's any question he's a good S&C coach, but how much is that worth compared to the headaches he seems to cause?