Tuesday, November 29, 2022 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Boxing Trainers Take Fight Outside Ring

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A boxing trainer claims in court that Manny Pacquiao's trainer defamed him by claiming he encouraged his fighters to use performance enhancing drugs.

Alex Ariza sued Freddie Roach in Superior Court.

Ariza, who used to help Roach train Pacquiao - a multi-divisional world champion - claims that Roach made the defamatory comments during a Jan. 9 interview.

The lawsuit does not directly cite any defamatory statements made by Roach, but Fighthype.com reported that Roach called Ariza "shady" during the interview.

"I know he has a new strength coach [Alex Ariza] and I don't get along with the guy, and one of the reasons why he doesn't work for me anymore is because I think he's a little shady, you know," Roach said during the interview, according to fighthype.com. "He used to give Manny [Pacquiao] a drink every day before we worked out and I asked him, 'What's in that drink,' and he would never tell me. And I said, 'I need to know what's in that drink because, you know, you're giving it to my fighter and if something goes wrong, I'm gonna get the blame.' In my opinion, he's a little shady."

Ariza claims the statements defamed him.

The 15-page complaint states: "Defendant was negligent, reckless and/or willful and malicious in communicating the aforementioned falsities implicating plaintiff as a cheater, condoner of using PEDs and assisting boxer in using PEDs.

"As a direct and proximate result of defendant Roach's intentional, malicious, harmful, unlawful and offensive acts, plaintiff has sustained severe and serious injury to his career and reputation, all to plaintiff's damage in an amount to be proved."

Boxinginsider.com recently called Ariza "the most controversial figure in boxing." Boxinginsider wrote that Pacquiao's transformation was so striking during Ariza's involvement from 2008 to 2013 that "people began to wonder how the transformation had actually happened."

Pacquiao was so ferocious that legend Floyd Mayweather refused to fight him without mandatory drug testing, according to Boxinginsider.com.

Roach fired Ariza in 2013 and Ariza began training Brandon Rios, Fighthype.com reported. Rios tested positive for a banned substance after a loss to Pacquiao in 2013, according to Fighthype.com

Boxinginsider.com also reported that Ariza kicked and mocked Roach for his Parkinson's disease last fall in China.

Ariza seeks punitive damages for slander, false light and negligence. He is represented by Jonathan S. Milder.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.