"I gotta tell you, sometimes people think that they can get into this sport and they think that they can go ahead and just make the transfer into what they're doing on the outside and bring it into this side, but it just doesn't work like that. I mean, this is just a wierd sport, the only sport in the world where you don't have timeouts, you don't have breaks outside that one minute; it's hard. You have to prepare yourself and you have to train differently than any other sport in the world, so, again, I don't know how they're training him and I don't know why Marquez got so big so fast, but, okay, you know, we're ready for it. I know what our guys do and what my guy does and muscles don't win fights," stated Manny Pacquiao's world-class strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, who shared his thoughts on the bigger and more ripped up physique of Juan Manuel Marquez and how he thinks that will impact the November 12 showdown. Check it out!
BT: Alex, what up my man?
AA: Ben, what's up brotha? Same ol', same ol', just busy as hell.
BT: I bet, man. I know you got fights with Manny, Julio and Amir all right around the corner and I definitely want to touch on those, but first and foremost, yo, I didn't know you could spit Spanish so fluently.
AA: Oh, yeah, well I'm from Columbia (laughing).
BT: I didn't even know that, man. I saw you in the corner with Liranes spittin' that Spanish and was like, damn, I'm going to have to start calling you Alex Arrrriza (laughing).
AA: Yeah (laughing).
BT: Speaking of Linares, tell me about that whole situation. I saw you were looking pretty pissed in the corner.
AA: Well, you know, I've been fortunate enough to be in some great corners and watch some great fights, especially with Amir Khan, you know, and you see a guy like Amir, when he fought Maidana, and you see a guy like that and you see it's a world championship fight and you have so much respect for a ref at that level of a fight that comes in with that kind of experience to ref something like that, and you see he got hit 42 times in that 10th round when Maidana was trying to take him out, but Joe Cortez, he took a step back and he let him work out of it, you know? It's the 10th round and it's close, I mean, that's what you train for. You train to get hit and you train to go down if you have to. I just really felt that, obviously, Linares dominated the whole fight and yes, there was a lot of blood, but Linares chose to go in there and continue to fight. I mean, he's got about 20 seconds left in the round and with what's on the line, as a ref, considering that Linares was never hurt, he was never rocked, he never got wobbly or took off in retreat or anything like that, how do you stop a fight on a 3-punch combination that doesn't even land?
BT: Obviously the blood was flowing, but he had been fighting like that regardless, so...
AA: (Cutting in) To be honest with you, I told him to run the last to rounds. I said, "Run! Run! Run!" And then we were talking about it, he said, "You know, bro, to be honest with you, I was afraid that they were going to stop it anyway. Because of the blood, I just didn't want to give them a reason. I wanted to go out there and try to see if I can knock him out before they stopped it." But secondly, you know, against my better judgement, he did the right thing because I think he won over the crowd, he got fans that he would have never had if he would've done what I said when I told him to run. Even though it's a loss, for me, it's a big, big win for him because I think, you know, when we were walking out, you saw people that were booing him [in the beginning] were just going crazy for him. Not just Mexican fans or Latin fans loves that kind of fighter, but any fan of boxing or fighting in the world loves a fighter like that. So I think, for us, it was better and now looking back, the WBC ordered an immediate rematch, so it's all going to work out.
BT: That's very true.
AA: I lost it because I just think, at this level, you know what these kids go through, so you gotta let 'em, I mean, this is a brutal sport and sometimes it gets ugly, so I can understand if he was wobbled and he was just taking unnecessary shots, but you don't stop a fight of that magnitude over a 3-punch combination when he had been dominating the entire fight. He was looking for a reason to stop this fight. You know, that's another reason why I got so hot. When Manny was beating the shit out of Miguel Cotto and he was fucking crushing Margarito, how many times did they stop it in the middle and check him to say, "Are you okay," or take him to the corner and wipe some of his blood out of his eyes? You think the ref ever did that? No! He took the first opportunity that he could and he stopped the fight.
BT: Do you think refs have a preconcieved notion as to how much punishment one fighter can take compared to another? Because you're right, when Manny fought Margarito, that's a fight that probably definitely should've been stopped, but it never was.
AA: I mean, yeah, why not stop that fight? He had no chance of winning. Even in the 11th or 12th, he didn't have a chance. He couldn't hit hard enought to knock Manny out. His face was just hemorraging underneath. Now that's a fight that should be stopped, but to stop a fight like this where the guy goes up against the ropes and he throws three punches that don't even land, I mean, why stop that? Maybe he's going to come back. I mean, 7, 8, 9, 10 unanswered punches, then stop the fight, but 3? You didn't even give him a chance.
BT: I guess to be fair, Linares did got caught with some shots, but then again, that's probably going to happen when you have blood flowing down your face and your vision is hampered.
AA: That's another thing he said to me. He says, "Bro, honest to God, I swear to you, if I was hurt, I would tell you." I asked him a bunch of times in the corner, I said, "Are you okay? Are you okay?" He goes, "Nah, I'm good, I'm good. Trust me bro, whatever he hit me with, it only looked bad because I just didn't see it." You know, one drop of blood in your eye is like you might as well as throw like a can of paint on your face. It just looked bad because he couldn't see the shots, but when he did land his best shot, he says, "I swear to you bro, it just shook me more because I didn't see it, not because I was like 'Oh my God, I got hurt'."
BT: When he fell to his knees in the corner, it looked more like it was out of the agony of losing the fight as opposed to being hurt.
AA: Yeah, it's like, "Fuck, man. Why couldn't we get this blood stopped?" You know, I learned a valuable lesson too. You gotta have 3 or 4 different kinds of medication in the corner. You gotta be prepared as well as the cutman is prepared, you know, because you can't rely on them to do what they're supposed to do either, you know?
BT: How bad was that cut? Was a situation where there was just nothing that could be done?
AA: Here's the thing, those things are vessel constrictors, but there's a way to help and look at these type of cuts. The problem was is that sometimes the medication that you have isn't going to work. You have to have more than one kind of adrenaline or what kind of vessel constrictor. You know, these anticoagulants, there's a bunch out there and some of them are very, very, very expensive and, you know, you just really have to look as to why we only had one in the corner. I told Freddie that I'll never be unprepared like that again because we lost that fight because of that. But the cuts, I mean, if you saw him the next day, you would say, "Yeah, he was in a fight," but it didn't look nothing like what it appeared to be in the fight. He just didn't apply pressure long enough and, you know, you didn't apply the coagulant where most of the blood was coming from, the vessel that was obviously torn and bleeding profusely. It was a learning lesson, for sure.
BT: Well, like you said, he'll probably get more exposure from that fight due to the cut, the blood, and the way it ended than if he would have just dominated and won a 12-round decision, so at the end of the day, I guess that's a positive.
AA: Exactly, or to dance around for two rounds and do what I asked him to do, but he just told me, he says, "I was afraid they were going to stop it anyway, bro." So, you know, he apologized and I was like, "Don't be sorry. Dude, you fought like a fucking warrior, man, like a soldier. People love you. They were chanting your name when we walked out of there. They went crazy for you. Bro, it's not a loss. Something like that, bro, it's a loss on the record, but it's a win at the end of the day because people can't wait to watch you two fight again." It's going to be the same thing all over again.
BT: So we had the second episode of 24/7. What do you think of it so far?
AA: I thought it was okay, you know, it was good. I mean, obviously, if they show me, they must be running out of material (laughing).
BT: (Laughing) I don't know, man. I think they like having you on because you're that figure who won't hold his tongue and will talk a little shit. I wouldn't be surprised to see them have you on a little more in the future.
AA: (Laughing) Well, we'll see. I don't know how much more they can put on there, but it's always good that they show that, but hey, for the first time, the best part of it was they get to talk about more of the training and stuff like that. I think that always important. People want to see that behind the scenes stuff more.
BT: Marquez has been talking a little shit lately, right?
AA: Yeah. There might be a little game plan behind that, you know. Like let me get Manny out of his game, let me talk shit to him, and maybe he'll come in too overly aggressive.
BT: Just looking at pictures and video of him, Marquez is looking a lot more ripped and a lot more solid than he did the last time he moved up in weight and tried to fight Floyd.
AA: Yeah, he looks really good. My understanding is he has a good team, I guess the same guys who work with Usain Bolt. You never know, I mean, I'm not in his camp so I can't speak, but I would never get my guy that big that fast because, you know, you never know how they're going to respond to carrying that kind of weight when it comes to a fight. Manny did it gradually and as time went by, he got bigger and bigger, but Marquez put on a lot of size really quick.
BT: Can you tell, just by looking at the pictures and video, how much bigger he's actually gotten?
AA: Oh, I can definitely tell, without a doubt. This is another reason why I don't think it's going to go more than a few rounds. There's no way can let this one go to the hands of the judges, number one. Number two, you're not going to outlast my fighter in a condition race of going 12 rounds. It's just not going to happen, let alone with Manny Pacquiao, so that's not really an option. So what's your option? Come in there as big as you can, as strong as you can, bang it out as hard as you can for three rounds, hopefully you catch him cold and, you know, get lucky, because outside of that, you're not going to beat him. You're not going to beat him any other way.
BT: What kind of stuff do you think they're doing with Marquez to help him put on more muscle? Do you think they have him hitting the weights and stuff like that?
AA: I gotta tell you, sometimes people think that they can get into this sport and they think that they can go ahead and just make the transfer into what they're doing on the outside and bring it into this side, but it just doesn't work like that. I mean, this is just a wierd sport, the only sport in the world where you don't have timeouts, you don't have breaks outside that one minute; it's hard. You have to prepare yourself and you have to train differently than any other sport in the world, so, again, I don't know how they're training him and I don't know why Marquez got so big so fast, but, okay, you know, we're ready for it. I know what our guys do and what my guy does and muscles don't win fights. I think last time we saw one of Victor's pumped up guys, you know, Zab Judah busted out and he came in like he was ready for a bodybuilding contest, and without a doubt, an impressive physique he had, but like I told Zab, muscles don't win fights.