An altercation between the camps of boxers Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios turned ugly on Wednesday, as trainer Freddie Roach and Rios’ assistants hurled gay slurs and racist comments at each other.
Pacquiao and Rios’ camps reportedly argued over access to gym time ahead of the boxers’ November 23 fight in Macau, Yahoo Sports reports. According to the report, Roach, who trains Pacquiao, asked Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia to vacate the gym by 11 a.m. Macau time so that Pacquaio could train. However, Rios’ training session was delayed by a series of interviews, so when Roach arrived, Rios’ team was still in the gym.
The situation escalated quickly from there. After exchanging a series of expletives, Alex Ariza, Rios’ strength and conditioning coach, mocked Roach’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Eventually, the fight turned violent, as Rios kicked Roach in the chest before onlookers managed to separate the two men.
As he was being restrained, Rios continued his verbal assault, calling Roach a “f---ing joke” and targeting him with a gay slur, Yahoo Sports notes. Roach also used questionable language. Pacquiao’s trainer directed a racial slur Donald Leary, another member of Rios’ camp, referring to him as a “Mexican motherf---er.”
An incensed Leary then threw a punch at Roach. “What, motherf---er? Now you’re getting racial, motherf---er?” Leary said as he rushed toward Roach. It took several bystanders to stop the two men from coming to blows.
After the altercation, Garcia gave his account of the events that led to the near-brawl. "The first thing [Roach] said was, 'Get out of here you piece of s---," Garcia said in an interview. "That was the first thing he told me. I was like, 'What?' He was like, 'Get the f--- out of here.' He called me a piece of s---. Then he called my friend 'a f---king Mexican,' and he called [reporter] Elie [Seckbach], 'a f---ing Jew.' What the f--- is that?"
Unsurprisingly, Roach has a much different memory of the event. He claims that he never made any racial comments, and was merely asking Rios’ camp to leave the gym so that Pacquiao could train. Furthermore, he noted that Rios’ camp mocked his Parkinson’s disease, and pointed out that Ariza kicked him in the chest.
"[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 f---ing 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.' "
Aside from the upcoming fight, Roach has some history with Rios’ camp. Ariza served Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach before Roach fired him, Yahoo Sports reports.
This isn’t the first time that Rios’ camp has made fun of Roach’s battle with Parkinson’s. In 2010, Rios and fellow boxer Antonio Margarito were filmed mocking Roach’s speech pattern, Larry Brown Sports notes. Furthermore, Seckbach was the person behind the camera, which likely explains why Roach has an issue with him.
“I don’t like them,” Roach said in regard to Rios’ camp. “They’re not good people.”
A video of the altercation between Roach and Rios' camp can be viewed below. Be warned--the video contains graphic language, including gay slurs and racist comments.