RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan and RING No. 5-rated middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. all share at least two things in common.
They work with five-time Trainer of The Year Freddie Roach, as well as strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza, who says that he and Roach have become unfairly targeted, if not tainted, by innuendo regarding their clients and performance enhancing drugs.
But over the course of time, Ariza said that he has not only become jaded to the accusations, he has begun to embrace them as forms of envy and back-handed praise from his competitors.
Asked if he took rivals’ assertions as compliments, Ariza responded, “Of course! It’s a huge compliment.”
“One of the best things that I’ve ever read was I think when Floyd Mayweather Sr. was writing about it the other day, like, ‘it’s impossible for Manny Pacquiao to do what he’s doing,” said Ariza.
“He wrote, ‘Pacquiao’s knocking out guys that are 6-feet tall,’ and, ‘he’s doing this and he’s doing that.’ He’s wondering how Pacquiao is doing all of these things, saying, ‘it’s impossible,’ and, ‘unheard of,’ and he’s going, ‘Wow!.’”
Ariza has been in the corner of WBO welterweight titleholder Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) over the course of his past eight victories, during which he 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 with Ariza, WBO/IBF beltholder Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) has earned two belts, knocked out New Yorkers Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi, and beaten former beltholders Marco Antonio Barrera, Marcos Maidana and Andreas Kotelnik.
Since Ariza began working with him, Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KOs) has solidified himself as a fighter with 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.
“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. Amir Khan has gone up from 135 and gone undefeated all the way through at 140,” Ariza told RingTV.com in a recent interview.
“After the Maidana fight, everybody was like, ‘[Khan] 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.”
All three of the fighters Ariza works with have displayed increasingly more sculpted bodies.
That was also the case with former WBC featherweight and WBA junior lightweight beltholder Jorge Linares (31-2, 20 KOs), even as Linares suffered a substantial amount of facial damage during a Fight of The Year-caliber clash with Antonio DeMarco (26-2-1, 19 KOs) on Oct. 15.
Linares was controlling the majority of the fight before being knocked out in the 11th-round of a failed bid to earn the WBC’s vacant lightweight belt. Linares is seeking a rematch that Ariza believes he would win.
“According to everybody else, it’s impossible for my guys to be able to do what they’re doing,” said Ariza. “But they go into every fight with a lot of confidence and they’re in the best possible condition.”
Pacquiao has taken the accusations seriously.
Pacquiao has filed a defamation lawsuit which names Floyd Sr., WBC welterweight beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) and the fighter’s uncle and trainer, Roger Mayweather that accuses and asserts that they have continued to insinuate publicly that his in-the-ring success is the result of having used performance-enhancing drugs.
Pacquiao has an HBO Pay Per View-televised defense of his WBO welterweight belt against RING lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) on Nov. 12.
A week later, Chavez Jr. has a scheduled matchup opposite Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs) on Nov. 19, and then, Khan defends his belts against No. 6-rated counterpart Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs) on Dec. 10.
Ariza, of course, believes the trio will continue its winning ways.
“Of course, none of my guys is doing anything illegal, so, to me, it’s like, I don’t care,” said Ariza. “So the accusations don’t bother me at all — absolutely not.”
PURSES RELEASED FOR NONITO DONAIRE-OMAR NARVAEZ CARD
THE RING’s No. 4 pound-for-pound WBO/WBC bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs) earned $700,000 for Saturday night’s unanimous decision defense of his belts against WBO junior bantamweight beltholder Omar Narvaez (35-1-2, 19 KOs), who pocketed $50,000 in defeat at WaMu Theater inside Madison Square Garden.
On the undercard, featherweight contender Miguel “Mikey” Garcia (27-0, 23 KOs) made $100,750 against the $15,300 earned by opponent, Juan Carlos Martinez (18-13-1, 6 KOs), who was dropped three times during his fourth-round knockout loss.
The purses were released to RingTV.com by the New York State Athletic Commission.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photo by Tom Hogan, HoganPhotos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org