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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Exclusive: Ariza believes Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather split permanent

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By Gareth A Davies

Alex Ariza, Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach believes the Mayweather-Pacquiao axis could be irretrievably split. Ariza, for the past two and a half years the head strength and conditioning coach at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym, in Hollywood, told Telegraph Sport that the schism between the two sets of promoters has left a bitter taste in the two camps.

The pair – Roach and Ariza – deal with both promoters. Pacquiao is promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. based in Las Vegas; Khan’s future – since he parted with British promoter Frank Warren earlier in the years – is now being overseen by Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, in Los Angeles.

Ariza told me this week that he has genuine, serious doubts that the Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, which was expected to generate in the region of $200 million, will ever come to fruition.

“I really don’t think so. I don’t think it will be anything to do with Manny and Mayweather in the end. I think it will come down to the relations between Bob Arum and Golden Boy. Bob Arum was seriously fed up of the messing for this fight – and wanted to get it signed,” he said.

“They don’t want to mess around with Mayweather. I think for him it is a case of whether he humbles himself and raises his position walks into Golden Boy’s offices and just signs the papers. There isn’t anything to say about it. If Mayweather wants the fight he is going to have to bite his tongue and go with whatever is stipulated in the contract.”

“Will Mayweather do that ? I think he won’t. Not once he sees what Manny does against Joshua Clottey. That’s going to instil even more fear into Mayweather.”

One thing is certain. Mayweather, purported to have serious tax debts, needs the fight more than Pacquiao, who has, in is mind, the pressing matter of an election to campaign for in The Philippines.

If boxing’s biggest fight for a generation fails to materialise, between the two top pound for pound fighters of this generation – which seems improbable on deep analysis – the sport will have shot itself in the foot. This fight, which had the world talking about in December, must happen.


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