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Arum guarantees $18M for Pacman; former fitness mentor joins Rios camp

Alex Ariza, who helped carry Manny Pacquiao to new heights, is now with Brandon Rios. ABAC CORDERO           

MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao is set to pocket a guaranteed $18 million (approximately P774 million) when he slugs it out with Brandon Rios in November, according to Top Rank chief Bob Arum.

In a report by Bev Llorente of ABS-CBN News North America, Arum confirmed the amount, which could go higher once revenue from outlets such as pay-per-view and gate receipts comes in.

“Manny is guaranteed $18 million, but we hope at the end of the day, he will do well enough so that he will get around $30 million,” Arum said.

This marks Pacquiao’s lowest payday since earning at least $20 million in his fights the past two years. In 2011, the Filipino icon received a guaranteed purse of $20 million against Shane Mosley and $22 million in his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

Against Timothy Bradley in 2012, Pacquiao pocketed $26 million and took home $25 million against Marquez in their fourth meeting. He lost both fights.

Pacquiao’s $18 million earnings from the Rios fight pales in comparison to the whopping $41.5 million purse Floyd Mayweather banked in his showdown with Saul Alvarez last Sunday.

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Meanwhile, Alex Ariza, Pacquiao’s former strength and conditioning coach, will be on the opposite corner when the Filipino icon slugs it out with Rios.

Ariza’s Twitter account now carries a new profile, which says, “Strength Coach @brandon_rios1.”

The conditioning expert from Colombia has jumped ship. He no longer works for Pacquiao after being “fired” by Freddie Roach some weeks back.

Instead, Ariza now works for Rios. Pictures he had posted on Twitter show. When the bell rings in Macau, Ariza will be on the opposite corner.

Ariza joined Team Pacquiao as the Filipino superstar prepared for the David Diaz fight in 2008. Everything went well. It was a rosy picture.

Ariza’s presence was quickly felt as Pacquiao breezed past taller, bigger and heavier opponents like Oscar dela Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.

Ariza helped turn Pacquiao into a 5-foot-6 wrecking ball. In the process, the Filipino became the only fighter in history to win world titles in eight different weight classes.

But cracks started to show early. Ariza had a fight with Pacquiao’s chief adviser, Michael Koncz, and then had something going on with Roach.

In February 2011, Roach had implied that he wanted Ariza out. They tried hard to keep the rift to themselves, just minding their own business.

Then Ariza got into a word war with Bob Arum. He became unpopular within the team.

But Ariza said he didn’t care what others say or think of him. He said he works for Pacquiao and will be there for as long as Pacquiao wanted him.

Everyone inside Team Pacquiao knew it was just a matter of time.

More than a month ago, Roach gave Ariza the pink slip.

“I had a discussion with Manny and I told him that I had a lot of trouble working with Alex, because he was always trying to do everyone else’s job,” Roach told Yahoo! Sports.

“Manny said, ‘You’re the boss. You hired him.’ When he said that, I fired him,” Roach added.

Ariza said he saw it coming.

“It didn’t come as too much of a shock, because over the course of the last couple of fights, obviously, Freddie and I were having differences of opinion on how to train Manny,” Ariza also told Yahoo! Sports.

“I didn’t want Manny to be in a position where it affected his training or anything like that. If that’s his decision, if that’s what he wants, I respect the decision. This is part of it.”

Roach said he would train Pacquiao for the Rios fight with or without the help of a new strength and conditioning coach.

However, reports said Gavin McMillan, an ex-tennis pro and a biomechanics specialist, is coming in to replace Ariza. Filipino trainer Marvin Somodio will also be there as well as old hands Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.

Ariza has nothing against Pacquiao. He said he only wants the best for the Filipino fighter.

Meanwhile, Mayweather has four fights remaining in his six-bout deal with US broadcaster Showtime, and although previous talks between him and Pacquiao have failed, the Filipino could still possibly end up fighting the undefeated American.

But first, Arum said Pacquiao must get past Rios.

“I’ve counseled Manny again and I’m going to adhere to that discipline,” said Arum. “Don’t look ahead to the next fight. Concentrate on Brandon Rios, and after that fight, there will be plenty of time on who he will fight next.”

Pacquiao and Rios will clash on Nov. 24 at the Venetian Resort in Macau. – Abac Cordero and Dino Maragay/Contributor

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