Ariza has been in the corner of WBO welterweight titleholder Pacquiao for his past nine 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, Joshua Clottey and Juan Manuel Marquez.
In eight of his past nine fights with Ariza, Khan 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.
“As far as I know, Amir has been having random drug tests done over in England since he won the title from Kotelnik, so this is nothing new,” said Ariza. “It’s been done by WADA [The World Anti-Doping Agency.] They were always at his gym testing him, randomly.”
Since Ariza began working with him, Chavez Jr. 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.
“People can say all sorts of things like, ‘aw, they take drugs or whatever,’ but I just want to prove to people that we’re clean fighters, and that’s what the Olympic drug testing is for. We chose to do that. We didn’t have to do that, but we chose to do that,” said Khan.
“You know, when people have said that fighters are scared of us, that’s because we train hard and we prepare hard and we fight hard and we spar hard. That’s the reason. We look in great shape whenever we’re in a fight because we train hard. It just shows what type of fighters we are. We train hard, and people just can’t take that.”
KEVIN ROONEY JR. PULLS DOUBLE-DUTY: HE PROMOTES, THEN HE FIGHTS, THEN PROMOTES AGAIN
Kevin Rooney Jr. will take a mark of 3-1 that includes one knockout against North Carolina’s winless Anthony Shuff in their super middleweight bout.
The 27-year-old will also take a legacy in with him, being the son of the former Mike Tyson trainer of the same name, Kevin Rooney Sr.
But that’s not all.
The former high school football and baseball star is also promoting the entire card as the executive assistant and director of public relations for Lou DiBella Entertainment.
“There’s only been one time where I’ve gotten to do this when I’ve only had to actually fight. Every other time it’s been double-duty,” said Rooney, a graduate of Fordham University with a degree in business and a concentration in marketing in 2006.
“After I graduated college, I always had that itch to get back into it. I’ve been boxing since I was three years old. So I started training. It’s tough, because, as everyone knows, fight week is tough for a fighter You really want to wind everything down and you want to be relaxing. From the promotional side, fight week is the busiest week. But Lou was great. He gave me today off.”
On fight night, Rooney will try to make quick work of his opponent so that he can resume his role as fight promoter.
“It’s going to be a sold out crowd and it’s going to be a crazy night. So I feel good, and I know that I’ll be ready tomorrow,” said Rooney.
“I’ll perform, and then, do my reverse super man and throw the suit back on and be back out of the dressing room at ringside and working the show again. I want to get these Irish-American fans excited for the main event.”
JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ TO APPEAR BEFORE WBO, PUERTO RICAN COMMISSION
Former WBO titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez is expected tol appear in separate hearings over the next week and a half before the Professional Boxing Commission of Puerto Rico and the WBO in relation to disparaging comments he made about refereed by Roberto Ramirez Sr. following his 10th-round TKO loss to Orlando Salido in their rematch on March 10.
Lopez faces a temporary suspension pending a March 26 hearing with the Puerto Rican commission, according to Peter Rivera, Lopez’s Puerto Rico-based co-promoter along with Top Rank Inc. Lopez has been suspended for one-year by the WBO pending his hearing with that organization on a date to be determined on Monday.
“We have a hearing next week with the WBO,” said Rivera. “But I don’t have that exact date. I will know on Monday.”
Lopez was originally dethroned by Salido via eighth-round stoppage in April on Showtime in a bout that was officiated by Roberto Jr. Salido-Lopez II was televised by Showtime and refereed by Roberto Ramirez Sr.
The first fight took place in Lopez’s native Puerto Rico at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, and the second, at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente, San Juan.
“I was dominating the fight. It was a tough fight, but I felt that I was dominating the fight. The referee stopped the fight. The other fight, his son stopped it. And now, he stopped it,” said Lopez (31-2, 28 knockouts) after failing to regain the WBO featherweight title he lost to Salido (38-11-2, 26 KOs).
“The referee stopped the fight because they have gambling problems. I told the commission that the referee was a gambler, and that the did it wrong by putting him in there. It’s very irresponsible to put him in as a referee when he has a gambling problem.”
WBO President Francisco Valcarcel had originally given until March 16 “to show us why we should rescind the suspension,” but Rivera said that Lopez was granted an extension until next week.
“We just want to say that he was available for that interview at that moment, but he had just come from a knockout,” said Rivera. “Sometimes, when you go through that situation, you don’t know what you’re really saying. It’s as if you were drunk.”
Lopez publicly apologized to Ramirez on March 11 in a statement.
“I want to apologize to Roberto for the comments I made after the fight against Salido. Roberto is one of the best referees in the world, he did a great job and I appreciate him for protecting me because I was definitely hurt,” said Lopez.
“Everyone knows how much I trained for this fight and all the sacrifices I made because I wanted to give a great victory to Puerto Rico. Maybe, in my frustration for failing my country, I said things that right now I don’t remember. And I want to delete. And again, I want to thank Roberto for his work.”
Salido had risen from a fifth-round knockdown to drop Lopez — who had floored Salido in the fifth of their first fight. Lopez rose on unsteady legs from the knockdown, and was deemed unfit to continue by Ramirez Sr., who waved an end to the fight.
“Also, I want to give the credit to Salido for his victory and thank to him for coming to my country to give me the rematch,” said Lopez.
“There was a great fight as all of the fans could watch and I want to thank all the fans for their support. I want the fans to know that I have some things to (accomplish) in boxing and I’ll be back soon.”
Photos by Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment
Photo by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photo by Tom Hogan, HoganPhotos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Ed Diller, DiBella Entertainment
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc..
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com