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ALEX ARIZA: "I THOUGHT MARQUEZ WAS A TRUE MEXICAN WARRIOR...HE PLAYED IT SAFE"

By Ben Thompson | November 18, 2011
ALEX ARIZA:

"Marquez didn't come to fight; that was his plan, was to survive and try to take advantage and win on points. He didn't come to knock Manny out. I thought Marquez was a true Mexican warrior, was going to come and do exactly what he said and try to make sure it didn't go in the hands of judges, but he didn't. He let it go to the hands of the judges...you can't keep going backwards. Even though you're counterpunching beautifully and you're sticking to your game plan, this is a championship fight, man. This is a fight that had two controversial endings...Marquez played it safe and didn't want to take any risks. A true Mexican warrior big shot that he is and that he claims to be...What happened to all that blood, life, glory and all that other stuff that he said on 24/7? I thought he was going to leave it all in the ring, not play it safe. I never heard 'play it safe' ever come into play," stated world-class strength-and-conditioning coach Alex Ariza, who shared his thoughts on the outcome of last Saturday's fight, the performances of both Pacquiao and Marquez, their future plans and much more. Check it out!

BT: What's up Alex? Man, it's a good thing Heredia didn't take you up on that bet (laughing).

AA: It's a really good thing because I put that bet on Heredia and Marquez.

BT: So give me your thoughts on the fight and how everything went down.

AA: Listen, first of all, I don't know why Marquez is fucking crying. He lost this fight because he took the last two rounds off and Manny won the fight because he turned it up in the last two rounds. I mean, it's that simple. Marquez talked all this shit, "I'm not going to leave it in the hands of the judges. I'm coming there to knock Manny out," well what the fuck are you backpedaling and trying to counter punch all night for? I mean, seriously dude. Whatever happened happened. Whether you think Manny won or you think Manny lost, Manny came and tried to do what he said he was going to do and Marquez did the opposite.

Listen, Clottey came forward, put pressure, trying to make a fight happen; that's why what happened, happened. Miguel Cotto came forward, tried to knock out Manny; that's why what happened, happened. You know, Margarito...these fighters came to fight. Marquez didn't come to fight; that was his plan, was to survive and try to take advantage and win on points. He didn't come to knock Manny out. I thought Marquez was a true Mexican warrior, was going to come and do exactly what he said and try to make sure it didn't go in the hands of judges, but he didn't. He let it go to the hands of the judges, so for trying to play it safe, he thinks he got fucked.

BT: You made some comments after the fight about needing to get back to the basics. Have you guys been taking a different approach to conditioning for these last couple of fights than you have in the past?

AA: Manny and I spoke on Sunday, we discussed what we have to do and, you know, there's no sense in me beating a dead horse. Manny knows and I know and we'll discuss it when the next fight comes.

BT: It seems like a lot of writers are looking for just about anything to blame Pacquiao's performance on. Have you seen the stories out there questioning why you were working on Manny's cut and shouting instructions from ringside?

AA: I mean, in the 10th round, when the cut occurs, obviously Miguel [Diaz] didn't see the cut. I was on my way up there. Once I saw the magnitude of the cut, mind you it was 3 1/2 layers deep and it required 28 stitches to close, so there was really not enough time for me to turn to Miguel, tell him to come up and take over. I was already there and I did what I had to do. Now let me ask you a question, did you see Manny's eye bleed during the 11th round?

BT: No, not at all really.

AA: Okay, so what is everybody so upset about?

BT: Well, I guess people who have high expectations of Manny are just looking for any excuse as to why he didn't blow through another opponent.

AA: But what are they so upset with me about? If I didn't stop it and he was bleeding the whole time, then you got something to bitch about. But you know what? If I wanted to sit there and get camera time and I wanted all of that, then when Freddie said, "Alex, get in the center of the ring," I would've got in the ring, but I told him, "No, I can do this one right here," because it's not that hard. People want to know what business I had working on the cut? I have a degree in physiology, I have a pre-medical background, and I served countless hours in ER. Anyone want to match their credentials against mine? If you can tell me the anatomical anatomy of the eye or the orbital socket and all the muscular structure, if any cut man out there wants to sit and go back and forth with me on it, I'd be more than happy to. If you really want to look at who has the medical background, I have an extensive medical background in muscles and all of that. Just because there's a little cut, I've seen thousands of cuts, severed limbs bleeding, countless hours in ER I've done, and research, and everybody is getting upset because I had to go up there? I mean, you know, they may shutter when they see a little something like that, but that's a walk in the park for me. Not to mention, aside from my background in medicine, I also too have worked countless MMA bouts. Obviously not UFC, but the lower level ones, and I serve as a cut man on many of those.

People need to sit there and kind of shut their mouths when they don't know what they're talking about. Look at the background that I have. I did my job, I closed the cut and I didn't cause any panic. You know, when Manny watched the tape, he said, "I didn't even know that I was cut." I'm thinking to myself, "Of course not."  There's no sense in you [Miguel Diaz] having to get in the center of the ring to close that. Let's not blow this thing out of proportion. I did what I had to do, I closed the cut, and I stopped the bleeding. What I did not want to happen was the same disaster that happened with Linares, you know? Oddly enough, the first thing that Linares said was, "How did you close that so fast? Why didn't that happen with me?" That was the first thing that Linares said to me. So again, I'm not trying to steal TV time because I'm already on TV; I don't need to steal that. I'm sorry that there's a few cut man out there that feel they need to speak up to their existence in the corner, you know, but if you really, really want to know what I'm doing in the corner, that's my background, what's yours?

BT: People have also pointed out that Manny was circling the wrong way against an orthodox fighter. I know you guys didn't work on that in training. Were those some of the instructions you were shouting from ringside to try and remind him to stick to the game plan?

AA: Yeah, and for the writers that are also complaining and asking why I'm yelling instructions from the corner, do you think for a second that anything that I yell from that corner is not fucking told directly by Freddie? The only reason I'm yelling is because I'm in the position to yell directions. Do they just think that all of a sudden, out of the blue, I'm doing it? It's not like it's the first time that I'm yelling orders. I'm yelling orders all through Amir's fights, I yell orders all through Julio's fights, and I yell orders all through Vanes' fights and all through Linares' fights. The orders that I'm yelling are coming directly from Freddie himself. It's not like I'm sitting there making up my own game plan in the corner. You think Freddie would allow something like that? I mean, I don't understand why people are getting so upset about the fact that I took initiative, I stopped the cut that was obviously terrible, and I yelled out orders that Freddie was telling me to yell out, but everybody is making some big hype about what I'm doing.

BT: Is Freddie's battle with Parkinson's Disease one of the reasons why you relay his orders during the fight.

AA: No, it's just because I'm usually in position. If you look, I'm usually looking right at Freddie to ask him. He'll say something like, "Move to the right. Drop the right hand." You know, Freddie will tell me and I'll yell them right as he's telling me. I mean, you have to remember bro, we do literally thousands and thousands of rounds with these fighters. I know what Freddie's thinking some of the time. I'm fortunate to kind of read what his game plan is, so when he's getting ready to tell me something, I know almost what he's going to tell me and what he wants me to say because it happens and we're in the gym thousands of hours. It's not like Freddie and I just met. I'm not like a cut man who just shows up on fight night and thinks he has a say in the corner. We've been with the fighter for 10 weeks. I know what Freddie's orders are, I know what he's looking for them to do, and I've seen the game plan for hundreds and hundreds of hours. I know what Manny was doing, I know what he didn't want to do, and when Freddie gave me the queue to say something, I said it, but don't think for a second that I took the initiative or was taking control of everything. I was just simply following the orders and yelling the orders that Freddie was telling me to yell.

BT: Well, I didn't really get a chance to read any of those articles out there, but I did see some of the headlines. I wasn't really sure of what the complaints were for in the first place given how close the first two fights were, but like I said, I think too many people are just looking for exuses.

AA: Instead of saying, "Hey, kudos to Alex Ariza for taking a bad situation, taking the initiative, and being able to stop the bleeding," no, they want to sit there and go, "What is he doing in there?" Who would you rather having working on your cut? Me, with countless hours and hundreds of rounds of experience, not to mention my medical background, or would you like the guy that's changing oil down the street who does cuts part-time on weekend fights? Manny told me himself, "I didn't even know I was cut until Miguel got in there." And by the way, that's why sometimes you just have to take the initiative and not call the cut man, because those were the last two rounds and I didn't want Manny to worry. He didn't even know he was cut, so I thought it would be looking out for the best interest of my fighter. For him to focus on the orders that Freddie was giving in the corner, I took the initiative and closed the cut and stopped the bleeding myself. Manny didn't realize he was cut until the 12th round because Miguel entered the ring, but by the time, the work was already done.

BT: Did you think the fight was close going into those final rounds?

AA: Yeah, I thought it was very close, you know? Here's the thing, remember the second Barrera-Morales rematch?

BT: Yeah.

AA: Remember Morales won, but they gave it to Barrera just like as a makeup call?

BT: Oh, yeah. You were thinking maybe they would give Marquez the benefit of the doubt because of the prior fights?

AA: Yes. I really did. I thought maybe they were going to give it to Marquez just to make a fourth fight. That's what made me think it was close. But here's the thing Ben, you can't keep going backwards. Even though you're counterpunching beautifully and you're sticking to your game plan, this is a championship fight, man. This is a fight that had two controversial endings. Why the fuck would you take the last two rounds off? You see, that's the difference in trainers. Freddie sent Manny out there to close the show and Nacho told him to play it safe. Our guy went out there and closed the show, was aggressive, threw punches, and kept coming forward; he played it safe and didn't want to take any risks. A true Mexican warrior big shot that he is and that he claims to be, why does he give a shit? What happened to all that blood, life, glory and all that other shit that he said on 24/7? I thought he was going to leave it all in the ring, not play it safe. I never heard "play it safe" ever come into play.

BT: I think if you're in the opposite corner, you also have to consider that you're fighting Manny Pacquiao, you know? When you're fighting a guy who's got a potential $100 million fight on the horizon, even though it may not be fair, I would think that coming into the fight, you almost have to have the mentality that you need to press for a knockout, or at least look like you're pressing for it by closing the show.

AA: Exactly. He played it safe, he knows it, and he paid for it. Now he's gotta just suck it up, swallow it, and go back home and shut up. He played it safe the last two rounds; Manny didn't. He came after you, so why not go after him. Think about how you didn't close the show and how you played it safe, that's what he needs to swallow. And I understand, that's why he's mad. He's not mad because he lost, bro. Trust me, I assure you that's not why he's mad. He's pissed off right now because he took those last two rounds off, and that's going to be a hard thing for a guy like that to fucking swallow. He knew he should have went out there, dude, he should've thrown caution to the wind and just said, "Fuck it!" Let it go! Whatever happens happens, you know? But he didn't. He dicked around, ran backwards, and fucking tried to play it safe. That's what he has to swallow and that's why he's pissed. He's not pissed because he lost. I assure you. That would be very hard for me to sit there and think, "Holy shit, man, I lost this fucking fight because I played it safe the last two rounds. I should've just pushed it." Now deal with it! You did it, now deal with it! Get over it! Don't blame the judges; blame yourself.

BT: I could be wrong, but I thought he looked like he was getting just a little bit tired going into those final rounds, and that may have also impacted his decision to press the action. I was actually suprised to see him weighing more than Manny on the night of the fight.

AA: Yeah, me too, but I think he hyper-hydrated, which was very, very smart on behalf of Memo. I think he fucking planned for this fight to go 12 rounds and I think he hyper-hydrated in order to pump his fluids up. I think that's why. He knew he was going to start sweating, and once he started sweating, that water was going to start coming out. I bet ya he weighed 142 by the time that fight was over.

BT: You think? Okay, what exactly do you mean when you say hyper-hydrating. Is that just basically overdoing it on your fluid intake?

AA: You hyper-hydrate, in other words, you kind of volumize everything with water, filling up your muscles and everything, so your body is made to survive with almost 90% water. What they probably did, he probably loaded him up with a lot of electrolytes, a lot of water, and anticipated that this fight was going to go all 12.

BT: That would explain the mix of Pedialyte and water he was drinking between rounds. What was the mood like for the team immediately after the fight when you guys were back in the locker room?

AA: You know, like Freddie said, it was very hard for us to celebrate when the whole fucking stadium is booing and throwing shit at us. You know, I mean, hey, we did the best that we could with whatever the situation was. Manny closed the show, Freddie believed he won it in the last round, I believed he won it in the last round, you know? Freddie sent him out there at the end of each round saying, "Go after him! Go after him! Just put the pressure on!" Hey, it's not the way we wanted to win, but we won.

BT: Bob Arum has expressed a great deal of interest in making the fourth fight with Marquez. Obviously Manny doesn't have a problem fighting anyone. I'm sure he has no issues with fighting Marquez again, but does Manny want the Mayweather fight first?

AA: Yes, he does. I mean, he's told that to me himself that he wants the Mayweather fight. He told that to Freddie; he wants the Mayweather fight. I know Manny would like to fight Mayweather. It's like Freddie says, Manny has to push it and if Bob says he doesn't care what Freddie said, well, he should care because that's Freddie's fighter and Freddie knows what his fighter wants and he wants Mayweather. But Bob doesn't care, dude. Bob's on the warpath to get me fired, him and Michael Koncz, trying to put this all on me. I've had several reporters calling me and telling me, "Bob is trying to blame you." That's how Bob is. I've been very outspoken about the way he treats Julio [Cesar Chavez Jr.], so now this was his shot. But thankfully, I had a chance to sit down with Manny on Sunday. We spent a lot of time together and Manny accepted responsibility for everything. He just said, "Hey, I promise next time, we'll do it your way." As long as Manny knows, I'm safe, you know, but believe me, him and Michael Koncz, that's their agenda. I've been notified by several sources saying that Bob Arum is trying to "put me on the hook for Manny's loss". They're trying to put me on the hook for it. All these papers about me taking over. I mean, it's got Arum and Koncz all over it. It smells of both of them. Don't worry about blaming me, him and Koncz trying to get me fired, you know? Worry about doing the right thing for your fighter. Nevermind me. I thought the promoter's best interest was supposed to be for the fighter.

BT: Any closing thoughts on last Saturday's fight?

AA: Sometimes, it's little things like this that make you move forward to bigger and better things. I think whatever happened on Saturday, maybe it's something that took us a step back, but now, Manny recognizes what happened, he kinda knows what we need to do, and he agrees with me and is receptive to the changes again. For me, that's all that matters.



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