If there wasn’t already enough hype for Manny Pacquiao – Brandon Rios bout on Saturday in Macau, China, what happened yesterday at a local gym created even more pre-fight buzz.
At a local gym in Macau Robert Garcia, trainer of Brandon Rios, was in the mist of an interview when Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach asked (well he didn’t ask, it was more like a demand) that Garcia leave the gym as it was time for Manny Pacquiao to train. Garcia said that he wasn’t going nowhere and that he (Roach) don’t run the gym here. From that point, things popped off as Alex Ariza, former strength and conditioning coach of Pacquiao jumped in. Eventually words (some of which were inappropriate) were exchanged back and forth between Roach, Garcia and Ariza which lead to punches.
In my assessment, both camps are at fault. I don’t care if Team Garcia had stayed a little too long in the gym, Freddie Roach was wrong to barge in, interrupt Garcia’s interview and demanding that he leave. Roach needs to think what if things were in reverse and Garcia would have attempted to do the samething, nor should he have called those in Garcia’s camp “you f*cking Mexicans”. Secondly, Ariza was just as wrong to escalate what happened.
Furthermore, Ariza was way out of line for mocking Roach’s stuttering. Everybody knows what plays a part in Roach stuttering. So, for Ariza and others there with Team Garcia to do it, is an attempt to make fun of Roach’s Parkinson disease; for that they are dead wrong, especially when you consider that a few years ago, Brandon Rios was caught on tape making fun of Freddie Roach’s Parkinson disease.
At the end of the day, while Roach started this, both camps are guilty of what turned into quite a melee. Also, for those in Garcia’s camp to refer to Roach as the f-word was wrong as well. There’s no room for homophobic slurs.
At the end of the day, an ugly scuffle will mean more hype and viewers for Saturday night’s fight. The person who I give most credit to is Robert Garcia who remained calm despite all the ethnic and homophobic rhetoric, as well as the back and forth shoving that was going on around him. This is part (an ugly part) of the sport and gets more people to buy the pay per view. In boxing, there’s not such a thing (well almost) as bad hype. Lets hope the fight turns out to be as good as this pre-fight scuffle.