|Photo Courtesy of Ringtv.com|
First, the brouhaha this week caught on video:
By now everyone knows that there was a blowup between Freddie Roach and Team Rios at a boxing gym in Macau, China. Let's be fair here and put the responsibility square on the shoulders of the one who deserves it, Freddie Roach. Yes, Freddie Roach. The prevailing thought here is that, “Well, yes, Roach was wrong but.....
There is no “But” here. True, Team Rios extended the training time for their fighter. It happens all the time. It happens in gyms and boardrooms across the country. It's a reality of life. A minor inconvenience at worst. No crime or slight here. If Roach had a problem with the time, the person to address the problem to would be the gym owner. As the owner of the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Roach is used to giving the orders and having his way. That's fine in his own gym. Instead he took it upon himself, to confront Garcia, as Garcia was being interviewed, and literally told him to “Get the fuck out of here”. To his credit Garcia handled himself admirably throughout the entire fracas.
Roach, regardless of where the blame lies, Parkinson's or not, still has a fighter's heart, and at some point, felt threatened, put up his dukes, and was kicked in cowardly fashion by Rios fitness trainer Alex Ariza. Roach responded with racial slurs and the whole thing got out of hand. Rios, also to his credit, stayed outside of the chaos.
Do I think Freddie Roach is a racist? No I don't. Probably frustrated by his own physical limitations and unable to take charge of the situation as he is used to, blurted out those words, (I won't repeat them here) to hurt Ariza. It was said in the heat of anger. Roach has already proven himself a decent human being through the years with all the fighters he has worked with. I don't recall any fighter ever feeling slighted. Was it incredibly stupid? Yes it was but not unforgivable.
If Ariza was on my team he would have been fired and shown the door that very night. A fitness trainer is probably the most overrated and useless member of any boxing team, which may be why he was fired by Roach to begin with.
On Rios' mocking of Roach a few years back, get over it folks. Rios was young and it's what young men do. Also not unforgivable. I think he knows better now. I have said some pretty stupid things in my life. I'm just lucky it wasn't caught on tape and played over and over for the world to see. More than likely you have done the same. Grow up and let it go!
On Robert Garcia: he is a former lightweight champion and one of the best trainers around today. He deserves, at the very least, as much respect as Freddie Roach. He's earned it the hard way.
About the Fight:
As someone who loves boxing, this is all that matters to me, the fight, this is the meat and potatoes of the sport, a sport that will continue to thrive regardless of what is going on around it.
I like Rios, I always have. But...... in Manny Pacquiao he has a huge mountain to climb. If Pacquiao comes in as he always has, I expect him to be too much for Rios, who has never faced a fighter of this caliber. Pacquiao, has, for the last decade and depending on who you talk to, been either one or two on the pound for pound list. That's saying a lot. If Pacquiao begins to show the effects of his knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez and if old age is beginning to creep in, Rios will capitalize on it. I expect Pacquiao to win this fight, but as always, let the best man win'