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By: Reni M. Valenzuela

Conditioning coach Alex Ariza spewed out venom that spelled doom to the 10-1 favorite boxer days prior to Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy. So the world crumbled for the entire Pacquiao camp since that was the juncture when the Filipino boxing sensation fell off biblical reality and started losing hold to be transformed into dust, for from dust he came.

The menu of alibis being put forth and the reasons being said why Manny Pacquiao struggled in his third encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez were but by-products of the big major blunder committed by one lordly person. And they pale in comparison with Ariza’s barb against God:

“Even if God Himself comes down and help Marquez, he still cannot beat Manny.”

Such seemingly harmless and “confident” pronouncement from Ariza goes beyond mere boasting and insult. It is blasphemy; perhaps the worst known blasphemy in all of sports that could have been uttered out of carelessness by a non-atheist since Creation.

Heaven grieved and was challenged. Hence God cut the ground from under Ariza’s feet. Despite the wide-gap odd in of favor of a “confident” Pacquiao going against a focused Marquez last November 2011, Pacquiao “surprisingly” underperformed. He was mauled by Marquez as he grappled for eyesight, strength and speed throughout the real bout. The pound-for-pound king got baffled and wondered why he suddenly found himself fettered hands and feet fighting Dinamita.

Pacquiao was inside the ring that night but the Pacman superhero was gone because Someone greater than boxing and the whole universe clipped his wings. Thus Ariza’s demigod was reduced to ashes for it’s not “by might nor by power.”

This is no small matter. The Lord carves his rejoinder in marble tablets. And this is no excuse for nothing can be further from the truth. God made His point in the trilogy and He made it well for Ariza and the rest of the world to take heed and learn.

Man better be meek and humble involving the great unfathomable Being in the equation of life. God is a consuming fire and God can’t be mocked.  Heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool.  “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” –Matthew 12:34

Alas, innocent Pacquiao was at the receiving end owing to the spoken bane.

Ariza is an evolved mammal of ironies who makes declarations that produce battle of words. A year since he was up the pole to belittle God and Marquez, Pacquiao’s false prophet now fears Marquez more than God just as he revealed his inmost sentiment during an interview by Boxing Scene a couple of months back: “I’m dreading it,” he quivered (referring to Pacquiao facing Marquez for the fourth time).

After being irreverent to the Almighty King of kings, Ariza then dreads a fellow mortal called “Dinamita.” Thus the prodigal trainer should set about regaining his senses to go back “home” before it’s late for Pacquiao, so he will not have to panic and won’t do his job for his pupil out of fear a “ghost” or out of a “confidence” that is out of place.

Ariza is the root cause of everything that went wrong for Pacquiao in the trilogy.  May he be rendered irrelevant in the forthcoming quadrilogy.  Ariza must be eternally grateful because he is privileged enough to be blessed being in the Team Pacquiao by the grace of Him whom He lampooned.

But “godly” Ariza remaining in the Pacquiao camp thus far would do no good to the Fighter of the Decade in the Pacquiao-Marquez IV and the future Pacquiao fights unless he makes a turnaround move and acknowledges the sovereign Supreme God to be supreme in the affairs of man, not to mention his job of preparing Pacquiao for a fight in order to win, or lose.

No man has yet gotten rid of his shadow by turning his back on the light.

Ariza doesn’t seem like he is full of himself, but he actually is. He should wake up to the fact that nobody is indispensable in Pacquiao’s team, and he’s not an exception. Ariza did not make Pacquiao. Pacquiao made Ariza. The proud “strength and conditioning” drill master should take off his shades and instead provide himself an eyeglass for a 20/20 vision.

It is never fitting to ascribe honor to a person who ascribes honor to himself.

On Dinamita’s show of bigness in body physique during his media day in Mexico City few days ago, Ariza reportedly commented upon seeing the “impressive” photos of Marquez as he was probably carried away by ego and his dread of a “ghost”:  “That’s what happens when you listen to your strength and conditioning coach.”

The allusion certainly put Pacquiao in bad light. As if boxing is body-building, Ariza found a way to publicly castigate his boss by uttering those words, subtly suggesting that much of the credit should go to him if Pacquiao wins with big gym muscles.

Ariza wants glory for himself, but his claims attempt only to prove that he had  contributed nothing substantial in the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon since he assumed the role of strength and conditioning coach if building muscles has been his ultimate goal.

Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey were of huge physique and solidly muscled boxers who succumbed to true strength residing in the small frame of “little Pacquiao” apart from Ariza’s concern to “create” burly bicep, flexor, sinew, tendon and abs.

Shapely muscled Timothy Bradley could have won the crown without controversy if he competed in the Mr. Universe pageant last June 9 instead of fighting in the MGM on the  same date versus Pacquiao from whom the judges robbed the welterweight championship belt to be handed meaningless to a boxer who went down on wheelchair.

Ariza might have forgotten he is on planet earth.  He has to be acquainted being in the shoes of others, or perhaps in the gloves of Pacman. He bears the yoke of seeing through his rituals as a trainer that although Pacman could fight like a UFO machine on top of the canvass, Pacman is a human being on the ground.

If Alex Ariza can’t beat his own spook, he should at least stop dreading the ghost of someone for someone.

Overwork or exaggeration in training an athlete can work against the same athlete in the actual competition. There ought to be balance in everything, training included.

Hard work is hard work only if there is time left to do other things necessary and important. Duty to God and family and the time to be alone in deep meditations are not to be compromised at the altar of mammon and “success.” Recouping strength and sanity can’t be arrived at through any other route. Wisdom is above efforts and it thrives in solitude, the quietness of worship.  Hard work alone is futile.  Lasting positive results from hard work is possible in no way but in summoning the best that you can be out of doing everything right, under Heaven’s watchful eyes.

Don’t turn Pacquiao into a beaten boxer without an opponent or even before he fights.

Ariza, together with Freddie Roach, must know that even in developing a machine, the inventor doesn’t go through the same process and intensity over and over again once he has reached the optimum level. It would do well, therefore, for Pacquiao’s “God-fearing” aerobics instructor from Colombia to review the definition of the words “recharge” and “maintenance” in a huge dictionary.

Pacquiao’s strength is inherent.

Ariza’s work is to enhance, not recreate or diminish it.

He’s not the Creator.

Photo Credits: Mp8.ph

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