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Vegas zinger started Khan-Maidana post-fight scuffle

December 14, 2010 |  4:25 pm

You might've missed it on HBO, but things became heated in the ring Saturday as Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana listened for the judges' scorecards in their memorable junior-welterweight title fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Maidana trainer Miguel Diaz was upset that referee Joe Cortez deducted a point from Maidana for throwing an elbow that didn't connect, and he was also bothered that a ringside doctor interrupted his in-fight direction to Maidana to inspect the fighter's reddened left eye.

Diaz told some reporters there was a "plot" to have Maidana lose.

Diaz "was screaming," after the fight, "Amir is the one who needs the ... doctor," Khan's conditioning coach Alex Ariza said.

England's Khan endured a hellacious beating in the 10th round, amazingly staying upright and proceeding to a unanimous decision for mostly beating Maidana to the punch in the earlier rounds. The sharp-witted Ariza deserved some of the credit for Khan's performance.

"I believe in a strong foundation, the base being a fighter's legs," Ariza said. "Strong legs help you withstand big shots. Amir got shook, but his legs were there."

Ariza had worked with cut man Diaz for trainer Freddie Roach as recently as Nov. 13 in the corner of Manny Pacquiao, relaying that the pair had a slight disagreement when Diaz tried to treat Pacquiao's fat lip, and Ariza told him not to because Pacquiao doesn't like blood and because there was no reason to cause the Filipino star concern.

After Khan-Maidana ended, Ariza said he saw Diaz walking to him, charging, "[Khan] is dirty," and "Watch your back."

Ariza didn't like hearing this after Maidana failed to touch gloves at the opening bell, after the elbow, and after being disciplined by Cortez for punching at the back of Khan's head.

"Alex Ariza is very intelligent, sharp and quick in a battle of wits," Roach business partner Billy Keene said. "Few can compete with him for his ability to zero in on what cuts you the most."

Ariza said he remembered how Diaz was telling people Khan had a glass jaw before the bout, and how he told a publicist to keep Ariza off the stage before a pre-fight news conference because he was a "cheat" and a "fraud." And Ariza let it rip.

"I told him his fighter was dirty and that he was a fraud, and how just because you throw a towel over your shoulder, it doesn't make you a trainer," Ariza said.

Ariza then added a blow that Don Rickles would've been proud of. He recalled Roach once telling him that Diaz used to be a maitre d' at a Las Vegas restaurant.

"Table for four!" Ariza barked.

Diaz surged forward and various people inside the ring broke it up.

"How am I cheating, because I won?" Ariza said. "I'm a fraud? You're a maitre d' turned cut man turned trainer!"

--Lance Pugmire