Over the course of his past eight victories, Manny Pacquiao has won three title belts over as many different weight divisions, scored knockouts over Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton and vanquished Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey.
In seven of his past eight fights, Amir Khan has earned two belts over as many weight classes, knocked out New Yorkers Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi and beaten former beltholders Marco Antonio Barrera, Marcos Maidana and Andreas Kotelnik.
Unbeaten middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez has solidified himself as a fighter during three straight victories, including one over New York’s tough John Duddy and, most notably, by dethroning previously unbeaten WBC titlist Sebastian Zbik for his first-ever crown.
But their success is the ring is not the only thing the three boxers have in common.
They also share five-time Trainer of The Year Freddie Roach in addition to strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza, the latter of whom says that he and Roach have become unfairly targeted if not tainted by innuendo regarding their clients and performance enhancing drugs.
“Manny Pacquiao has blown out everybody he’s fought in his last eight fights with me. That’s how many different divisions? That’s 135, that’s 140, 147 and 154. From 135 on up, he’s blasted them out,” said Ariza.
“Amir Khan has gone up from 135 and gone undefeated all the way through at 140. After the Maidana fight, everybody was like, ‘He needs to take a steroid test because of the way that he took shots in the 10th round and didn’t go down. Julio Cesar Chavez beat John Duddy in a Fight of The Year type of fight, and they were screaming for him to be steroid-tested.”
Since last weekend’s fifth-round knockout by Khan over Judah, Ariza has been engaged in a war of words over the internet with Victor Conte, the controversial conditioning and nutrition guru who founded BALCO and who also helped Judah to prepare for Khan.
Conte built a four-year career out of helping athletes to circumvent Olympic-style drug testing policies until BALCO was raided in 2003.
Conte served a prison stint for his work with illegal performance-enhancing drugs in numerous professional sports, but since being released from prison in 1988, claims to have devoted himself toward helping to clean up sports in general.
As the proprietor of Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC), Conte supplies legal sports nutrition products and supplements as well as counsel to athletes, including boxers such as Judah and Nonito Donaire.
But Ariza believes that Conte has placed a bullseye on his back, and he does not like it.
“All that I’m saying that Victor Conte was the first one to come out and say that our guys need to get tested at Wild Card Gym because James Toney was caught doing steroids … and he came out of our gym. So that leaves Wild Card to be suspect. So our fighters need to get tested?” said Ariza.
“In addition, Conte put out a statement saying that he’s got a more scientific and more comprehensive program than I do. Okay? On top of that, he said that his fighters are getting tested. Nonito Donaire and Zab Judah. They’re all subjecting themselves to whatever f*cking bullsh*t testing that he’s coming up with. Well good for them.”
Ariza, for his part, said that he welcomes drug testing, even as he denies that his fighters are using performance enhancing drugs.
“I welcome the testing. All that I’m saying is that Victor Conte is going on some kind of soap box about cleaning up the sport,” said Ariza. “Dude, ‘Don’t worry about the sport, we’re doing just fine. Worry about whatever bullsh*t you’re doing and stay on your side of the fence.’”
Ariza said that Khan had already agreed to pre- and post-fight drug testing for the Judah bout.
“Amir had agreed to random testing and was tested immediately after the Zab Judah fight,” said Ariza. “He was tested in England after he was tested at the Wild Card. It was surprise testing that he had already agreed to with the British Boxing board over there.”
Conte could not be reached for comment, but Ariza certainly has plenty to say.
“I don’t think that him or any of his guys should be patting themselves on the a*s for getting tested because nobody in the boxing world thinks that they are doing anything or that they’re on steroids. But everybody wants our guys to get steroid-tested because they’re blowing people out and they’re turning heads,” said Ariza.
“So you have all of these people who are watching them. Nobody’s getting on Victor Conte’s guys saying that they should be tested for steroids because they’re not doing anything to make people believe that they are.”
In December of 2009, Pacquiao filed a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for defamation of character.
The suite was against Floyd Mayweather Jr., but it also named Floyd Mayweather Sr., his uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather, as well as Richard Schaefer and Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and president, respectively, of Golden Boy Promotions, which handled Mayweather’s part of the negotiations for a potential fight between the two.
Pacquiao’s suit still is ongoing against Mayweather, but he dropped the one against Golden Boy after De La Hoya issued a public apology.
Ariza, however, does not apologize for the results displayed during performances from the likes of Pacquiao.
“I really didn’t realize how good my program was until I saw Manny beat Miguel Cotto. Manny took Cotto’s best shots, and then he took him above and beyond the sixth round, began picking up the pace and then beat him up and beat him up badly,” said Ariza.
“Everybody thinks that my guys are on steroids because that’s the kinds of performances that they’re producing. I’m not hearing sh*t from Conte’s side. People are fighting us differently when they know they’re facing a guy who is trained by me and Freddie, and that’s just a fact.”