Boxing fans waiting in anticipation for this weekend's big bout got a little something extra to whet their appetites in buildup to the main event as members of Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios' camps were involved in an altercation Wednesday in Macau.
According to Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, shoved Rios' trainer, Robert Garcia. Alex Ariza, Rios' strength and conditioning coach got involved, as well:
The argument began when Roach entered the gym at 11 a.m. when Pacquiao's training session was scheduled to begin. Rios had the gym from 9-11 a.m. Rios was wrapping up his workout when Roach entered.
According to witnesses, Roach made a beeline to Garcia and demanded that he leave immediately. Garcia asked for three minutes to finish up, but Roach wouldn't hear of it. Apparently, several witnesses said the trainers shoved each other.
Ariza told Marcos Villegas of Fight Hub that he kicked Roach.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said, "We have a fight already and it's still a few days out."
You can see video of the incident below.
(WARNING: Language in the video is explicit and NSFW).
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix also tried to shed some light on the situation.
Freddie Roach has not forgotten Brandon Rios mocking his Parkinson's and Robert Garcia laughing at it. And history w/Ariza well documented.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) November 20, 2013
In other words, it's no surprise that tensions boiled over today. Surprised it has taken this long.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) November 20, 2013
After the melee, Alex Ariza can be heard calling Roach a "stuttering prick." Yep. Keep going after the Parkinson's.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) November 20, 2013
Ariza and Roach have quite a bit of history, as documented by Iole. Regarding Ariza, Pacquiao's former strength and conditioning coach, Roach had this to say:
Ariza is just an [expletive]. He never did a thing for Manny. Manny always worked on his own. Alex just stretched him, and that was the extent of his job. I told Manny, 'You're paying this guy a lot of money just to stretch you.' What fighter in the world, what professional athlete, can't stretch himself?' And Manny agreed and said, 'I'm going to go back to the old way.'
Considering how many fans are favoring Pacquiao in this fight, it's been hard to garner a lot of buzz for the matchup. Some might wonder what the point is in spending a ton of money for a fight when you think it's wholly one-sided?
With this most recent news, though, fans who had planned on skipping the event might want to think twice.
Clearly the trouble has been brewing for some time between Roach, Garcia and Ariza, and it was only a matter of time before things hit a reckoning point. This isn't the case of somebody manufacturing a feud in order to increase the pay-per-view buys.
Roach doesn't like Garcia, and he doesn't like Ariza. The feeling is mutual from the other side. This real-life drama adds another dimension to what seems like an otherwise uninspiring fight.
Now the question is, how will these guys follow this up at the press conference that's scheduled for Wednesday?