UPDATE WEDNESDAY MORNING: I heard from Memo Heredia, so please scroll down for that material.
Nope, Freddie Roach isn't concerned if Floyd Mayweather snaps up the best known strength and conditioning coaches in the boxing sphere, Alex Ariza, and Memo Heredia, ahead of the May 2 clash between “Money” and Manny.
What if Floyd hired Ariza and Memo full-time in the leadup to 'the Clash for the most Cash,' I asked Roach?
Whatev, was the gist of his response.
“Ariza worked with me, and then he was fired,” he recalled. “When he came here we got along pretty good,” the trainer said. Then things started going downhill. Ariza and Manny got along well, but he started rubbing Roach the wrong way, essentially over-stepping his bounds, in the trainers' mind. Roach told me he had to watch his words, as Ariza lodged a suit against him after they went back and forth in the media last year. But he couldn't resist taking a poke at the fitness ace, who has been seen periodically since last year working with Mayweather, and checking out his workouts at his gym. Roach cracked that after helping Manny get stretched out, Ariza's main function was to oversee that the food at Manny's favorite Thai joint was up to snuff. “He made sure Manny ate the right food,” said Roach, implying that the services of Justin Fortune are more than adequate for the task. Roach said that Ariza is taking legal action at him because he questioned but didn't get an answer with enough specificity what ingredients were in drinks Ariza sometimes made for the fighter. “Why not give me the ingredients, give me an idea what's in them,” asked Roach rhetorically.
I texted Ariza to get his side and will insert his side of the beef if and when he responds. An April 11 LA Times story referred to the suit, which states that Roach publicly said Ariza “gave fighters performance-enhancing drugs.”
“As a result of this publication, [Ariza] has suffered and will continue to suffer monetary damages as well as irreversible injury to his reputation and image,” attorney Jonathan S. Milder wrote in the five-page complaint, the Lance Pugmire story said.
The men took their animosity to a new level when Ariza was working with Brandon Rios ahead of his clash with Pacman in November 2013, soon after being let go by the Pacman crew. They had a physical altercation in Macau, and not long after, Ariza and Rios and Rios' trainer Robert Garcia parted ways.
Now, if Heredia hooks on with Mayweather, Roach said he thinks pretty highly of that supplement and strength and conditioning expert. “He's one of the smartest guys I've met,” Roach said. “He's a real nice guy.” In fact, he said that Heredia discussed offering his services to Team Pacquiao but Roach said he passed, because of the baggage factor. (Memo told me common friend Mickey Rourke brought up the possible Memo/Manny/Freddie pairing. “Rourke felt I could re-establish Manny's conditioning,” Memo told me late Tuesday night. “Roach is a nice guy, we have no problems between each other, I admire his work and legacy in boxing.”
He said Memo's dad is a chemistry profressor, according to a news clip I saw, who has volunteered his services and knowledge base to the trainer, who battles Parkinson's. His condition is manageable, he said, so he said thanks but not right now, and is grateful for the offer. Memo confirmed the offer. “Yes, my father did offer him access to new studies and research data in the area of neurology last year. My father will be presenting a new study and findings in Parkinson and Alzheimer's conditions in Mexico soon.”
All in all, Roach said that even if Ariza shows up at the LA presser and seeks to re-acquaint himself physically, he won't go there. “He kicked me in Macau, I'm not a great kickboxer. I'm 55 now, no more fights! I'm not going to get into a fight with Alex, or Floyd's dad. Sure, there might be some stuff verbally, but it's not going further than that.”
Roach plays the role of stuff-stirrer real well, and the role is I dare say needed when you consider that the last time Pacman talked trash was…well, do you recall him ever talking trash? In a sport which needs buzz to be conjured in build-up to bouts, Roach is aces at the task, and yes, sometimes he's willing to go a wee bit overboard in the role…but that stems from, I suspect, his passion for his guy Manny, as much as anything, as well as his own competitive nature. Once a fighter…
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