Manny Pacquiao Has to Answer One Big Question Against Brandon Rios

| by Alex Groberman

Early reports out of Manny Pacquiao’s camp indicate that he is training very hard for his upcoming fight against Brandon Rios. Whereas prior to his bout versus Juan Manuel Marquez there were questions about his scheduling and whether he was beginning to work early enough, this time around, rumors are flying that he is absolutely destroying his training partners.

Whether that’s a testament to how good he is or how bad his training partners are remains to be seen, but either way, it’s better than him being dominated by his training partners.

That being said, it’s worth noting: All the reports citing him being on a tear in training are absolutely worthless. Although there was some talk about him not preparing rigorously enough for Marquez, there was also a lot of chatter about how badly he was destroying his training partners. Nobody could hang with him, they said. And we all saw how that turned out.

Training camps are just as much about the mental as they are the physical. Freddie Roach needs his guy to have a warrior mentality going into his match, and that doesn’t work if all anyone can talk about is how a fighter’s training partners have been kicking his butt daily.

More importantly, though, a solid performance against training partners means nothing because they’re not trying to knock Pacquiao out. Rios will be. We saw against Marquez that Pacquiao can look like the best fighter in the world for ninety percent of a match, only to then be knocked out by a powerful counter that he steps into for reasons beyond anyone’s comprehension.

From a technical standpoint, there are no concerns that Rios will outbox Pacquiao. What he might do, however, is knock out a guy whose chin was recently tested. And Pacquiao looking good against a bunch of scrubs in training who aren’t even trying to put his face on the canvas is not in any way an answer to the only question that matters at this point: Can he still take a good, hard punch?

We’ll find out the answer to that this coming November.