"You know, with Maidana, I have had personal experience with him. Even though I was across the ring from him for a fight, I was a fan of his when he fought after that. I like his style and that kind of style is good for me to work with because I know that he likes to be very active, he's very aggressive, and he like a lot of punch volume. Those are things that I already have programmed and I'm able to work with somebody like that. Whatever him and Robert decide to do, I'm going to make Maidana as strong and as explosive as I can, and to be able to throw as many punches in volume that's possible," stated world-class Strength & Conditioning Coach Alex Ariza, who talked about working with former jr. welterweight champion Marcos Maidana as he prepares for his December 14 showdown with undefeated WBA welterweight champion Adrien Broner. Check it out!
BT: What's up, Double A? I saw you tweeted a picture of you and Maidana working together, so I guess it's official. How did the two of you hook up? Was it just something that happened naturally since you're already working with two of Robert Garcia's guys?
AA: No, Marcos was alerady doing his own thing, but I think they went to Robert and they just really like the way they were seeing Brandon and Mikey. Obviously we're familiar with each other because I trained Amir when they fought. Robert pulled me aside and said, "Hey, can we take on another guy right now to participate in conditioning?" I said, "Absolutely, man!" The way that Robert schedules the time, everybody gets their own time, their own hours, so it was going to work out.
BT: Obviously Maidana is fighting Adrien Broner on December 14. What kind of things are you hoping to improve in him between now and then?
AA: You know, with Maidana, I have had personal experience with him. Even though I was across the ring from him for a fight, I was a fan of his when he fought after that. I like his style and that kind of style is good for me to work with because I know that he likes to be very active, he's very aggressive, and he like a lot of punch volume. Those are things that I already have programmed and I'm able to work with somebody like that. Whatever him and Robert decide to do, I'm going to make Maidana as strong and as explosive as I can, and to be able to throw as many punches in volume that's possible.
BT: This might be a silly question given the results I've seen you get with Mikey Garcia and Brandon Rios, but can you make a significant difference in Maidana's speed being that the fight isn't that far away?
AA: Well, we have 7 weeks, so we have a lot of time. I think we'll see significant changes with everything that we do. I thik Brandon has made significant changes. Mikey has obviously made significant changes. I think he [Maidana] has the same type of work ethic, the same kind of discipline as they do, so I do see that. I think we'll see a completely different guy; not completely in a sense of his style, but he'll be able to do more of what he wants to do because of his strength and his conditioning.
BT: As a Strength & Conditioning Coach, do you look at the opponent that your guy is fighting and decide on the areas you want to work on, or is that something that the trainer decides?
AA: The trainer decides that. When we had Mikey, Robert said, "I want to work on this a little bit more." With Brandon, he said, "I want this and this." With Maidana, same thing. Similar, but different. It's whatever the game plan is that Robert has going into a fight, especially with someone like Broner. But, you know, Broner is not where he is today because he's just an average fighter. You have to respect him. You have to respect what he's done and where he's at. You have to go into like that. I never make a judgement from a past fight. Broner knows that we're training him, so he's going to prepare himself the best that he can; the same way that we're preparing ourselves the best that we can for him.
BT: A lot of the guys you worked with were Freddie Roach/Top Rank fighters. Obviously you've made the switch to Robert Garcia now, but still, a lot of his fighters are Top Rank fighters as well. Maidana, however, is a Golden Boy fighter. I know you worked with another Golden Boy fighter in Amir Khan, but I think this is the first time you've ever worked with an Al Haymon fighter. Given the politics of this sport, does any of that matter at all when it comes to working with fighters?
AA: Well, I think it has nothing to do with that. This is the first Al Haymon fighter I've worked with, but gratefully so. Obviously Al Haymon has a tremendous stable of fighters, so of course I want to make an impression, do the best that I can do, do everything that we can, and use all of my resources, such as Terri Tom and everybody that I use for Brandon and Mikey, and hopefully develop a relationship with Al. When the move was made to come to me, I got a lot of support from Golden Boy. Of course I've handled their fighters before with Amir Khan, so I've always had great support with them. Now, with Al Haymon, hopefully it'll open the doors and we'll have a good relationship. More importanly, I'm getting the support from them that I normally don't have.
BT: When you say "getting the support", what kind of things are you talking about?
AA: Well, knowing that I am training their fighter, that they're support of it and they're behind it. If there's anything that they can do to make things easier, they let us know that the phone is open to call. When it's like that, then it's a lot easier. You don't have the stress of feeling like there's people out there trying to interfere in your work and trying to do things behind your back. We know that there's haters out there. Like Robert says, we just have to stay focused; we have to focus on the fighter and not worry about the interference that people are trying to make with us. We just have to do a good job and do the best that we can to win.
BT: How have things been going as far as the support when it comes to Brandon? I only ask because obviously your past battles with Bob Arum have been well-documented on FightHype (laughing), but also, I know Cameron Dunkin recently made some comments about not being a big fan of you working with Brandon.
AA: You know, again, you can't be everybody's fan unfortunately. There's going to be some guys out there that see the results and that's all that matters, or it's going to be something else. Sometimes you're going to have support and sometimes you're not. It's unfortunate that when somebody is training, not everybody is working together despite whatever their personal issues are. We should all be focused on what's best for the fighter and getting the job accomplished. Fortunately with Maidana, we have the support of the entire side. With Brandon, we have the support in camp. They like the work that I do, they believe that it's top notch, and they want the best for their fighter, so that's what they're going to push forward to. For Robert and I, again, I hope that it's the beginning of doing a really good job, doing everything to the best of our abilities, especially for him; and for me, developing a good relationship with Golden Boy and Al Haymon.
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