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Pacquiao, Rios camps trade derogatory slurs and get into melee ahead of boxing match

Kevin Iole
Boxing

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Team Rios member Donald Leary (L) is restrained from hitting trainer Freddie Roach. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

MACAU – An ugly scene erupted between the teams of boxers Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios on Wednesday as the camps exchanged homophobic and racial slurs during a physical altercation over a dispute regarding access to a gym.

 

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach asked Rios trainer Robert Garcia to end Rios' workout at 11 a.m. Macau time. Rios was scheduled to work out from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., but started late because he had done interviews. Garcia asked for a few minutes. Pacquiao was slated to work out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Roach called Garcia "a piece of [expletive]," which prompted the escalation of the incident. Rios conditioning coach Alex Ariza, who was fired by Roach as Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach, told Roach to "get the [expletive] out of the gym." Roach responded by saying, "Make me get out."

Ariza mocked Roach's Parkinson's disease several times. At one point, Ariza took a step forward and kicked Roach in the chest. As chaos broke out, Ariza said to Roach, "You're a [expletive] joke," and then used a gay slur.

Roach referred to Rios camp assistant Donald Leary as a "Mexican [expletive]," which prompted Leary to swing at Roach. A Venetian security guard struggled but managed to control Leary.

Afterward, the sides had vastly different interpretations of the incident.

Garcia was sitting on the ring steps doing an interview when Roach entered the gym and shouted, "Get the [expletive] out of here."

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Freddie Roach is held back during the melee. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Garcia said he was trying to finish the workout that began late because of an interview.

"The first thing he said was, 'Get out of here you piece of [expletive]," Garcia said. "That was the first thing he told me. I was like, 'What?' He was like, 'Get the [expletive] out of here.' He called me a piece of [expletive]. Then he called my friend 'a [expletive] Mexican,' and he called [reporter] Elie [Seckbach], 'a [expletive] Jew.' What the [expletive] is that?"

Seckbach is close with Rios' camp and operated the video camera in 2010 when Rios and Garcia mocked Roach's tremors from his Parkinson's disease. There has been tension between them ever since.

"I don't like them," Roach said of Garcia, Rios and Seckbach. "They're not good people."

Ariza said he got involved because Roach was getting aggressive.

"He got physical," Ariza said. "He was going to hit Robert [Garcia]. I told him, 'This isn't Wild Card [gym].' You're not in charge here. He looked at me, cocked his fist back and I kicked him in the chest. ... When you raise your fist at somebody, the other person has the right to defend themselves."

Roach denied making any racist comments and said he simply asked Garcia to leave. He said Garcia said they'd leave in 30 minutes, but that was not audible on a tape of the incident.

Roach said Ariza made fun of his Parkinson's, which was obvious on the tape, and then kicked him in the chest. Roach then said that Leary screamed at him to leave.

"[Ariza] kicked me in the chest and ran away," Roach said. "Then, one of the bodyguards [Leary], I don't know his name, but he's a strong Mexican kid, he started yelling and screaming to get out of the [expletive] gym. I said, 'What, are you the Mexican tough guy?' He came after me and that got broken up. Then, Elie Seckbach started filming and I said, 'Why is this happening, Freddie Roach?' I said, 'Are you the Jewish reporter,' and he said, 'What, are you a racist?' And I said, 'No. I just don't know your name.' "

 

Video of the incident can be seen below.

 

(WARNING: The video below contains strong language.)

 

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