There is already so much on the line in the Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios fight on Saturday, Nov. 23 that a spat between the fighter's trainers earlier in the week wasn't needed to create extra buzz.
The pre-fight scuffle happened on Wednesday morning and occurred between the camps of the two fighters, although neither of the participants in the actual bout were involved.
Here are the specifics, according to Kieran Mulvaney of ESPN.com:
The problems began when Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach approached Rios trainer Robert Garcia in a gym area beneath the Venetian Theatre that the two camps are sharing during fight week. Rios is scheduled to work out in the area between 9 and 11 a.m. each day, with Pacquiao's workout slated for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Video of the incident shows Roach asking Garcia to leave and apparently calling him a "piece of s---." "Don't call me a piece of s---," Garcia countered. Alex Ariza, Rios' strength and conditioning coach, who previously worked for Roach and Pacquiao, shouted at Roach to leave, and Roach shouted back at Ariza to "make me." After some verbal back-and-forth, Roach stepped forward. Ariza kicked Roach in the stomach, and when one of Rios' team began shouting at Roach, Pacquiao's trainer called him a "Mexican m-----f-----," prompting a near-brawl that required the intervention of security.
According to Garcia, the conflict arose as a result of Rios staying late to appear on ESPN's "SportsCenter" during Pacquiao's scheduled gym time.
A video of the fight can be seen below (Warning: Video is NSFW).
Just like you can't argue the lack of morality in the words used by Pacquiao's trainers or the kicking in the stomach of a man with Parkinson's, you also can't argue that this altercation was needed to help promote the fight.
Sure, Pacquiao may use this as more motivation to beat down a man who had nothing to do with it or vice versa for Rios, but the ramifications for Pacquiao's career as a result of this fight creates enough attention in and of itself.
That's because a loss or poor showing on Pac-Man's part could result in his retirement, and those sentiments were echoed by Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:
Manny Pacquiao's trainer says the Filipino boxer will contemplate retirement if he fails to perform well against Brandon Rios this month.
Freddie Roach said if the Rios fight "does not go well, we will seriously talk about his retirement," but he added Pacquiao was training well for the Nov. 24 bout in Macau.
Regardless of how well Roach thinks Pacquiao is training, all that matters is the results in the ring, and a loss or even a close win that doesn't show Pac-Man at his best could end his illustrious career.
Such a scenario would be a huge deal in the boxing world as Pacquiao—who has his fare share of detractors—is considered one of the best fighters to grace a boxing ring in the history of the sport and certainly in this generation at least with multiple titles in multiple weight classes and several notable opponents defeated.
If he wins convincingly, Pacquiao will be on the right path to making his comeback following two straight losses—one came by a joke decision to Timothy Bradley and the other a knockout defeat at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez.
And that path could create two much-anticipated rematches with those two fighters, even though we can all be honest with each other in saying that Desert Storm doesn't really deserve to share a ring with Pac-Man again.
Still, the buzz would be there for both fights with revenge being the overwhelming theme. And, if we're all lucky, maybe a good enough return to dominance scores Pacquiao a dream bout with none other than Mr. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
From my lips to the boxing gods' ears.
On a smaller note, even the positive impact on Rios' career should he beat Pacquiao is an exciting storyline. As the man with nothing to lose, Rios could end up etching his name into history by ending the career of a boxing legend.
So it's abundantly clear that this fight didn't need an out of ring event like the ugly scene between Pacquiao and Rios' trainers to garner extra attention. There is already enough at stake for both fighters, and there's nothing a bunch of hot-headed trainers can do to add to it.
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