Manny Pacquiao’s November fight against Brandon Rios will never be completely overlooked, just because he remains one of the two most followed boxers in the world today. But there’s no denying that it has noticeably less buzz than any fight he has participated in over the past decade.
Some of that is because Rios is an unknown commodity amongst mainstream sports fans. Some of it has to do with the fact that Pacquiao is coming off back-to-back defeats, including an extremely memorable knockout loss. And some of it has to do with the fact that this match-up won’t be held in the U.S.
Despite the lack of enthusiasm surrounding this bout, though, Rios and his team are doing their best to hype it up. They got the media’s attention by hiring Alex Ariza after Pacquiao kicked him to the curb. Now, a month out from fight night, trainer Robert Garcia is firing off some shots that probably won’t sit too well with Pacquiao’s more loyal fans.
In an interview with RingTV.com, Garcia said that Rios is training for the Pacquiao that is “so fast, and so powerful, who has knocked everybody out.” However, he also made it a point to mention that: "I don't see the same Pacquiao of five years ago.”
Translation: We think Pacquiao is done, but we can’t say it aloud because it will reflect really poorly on Rios.
And by repeatedly saying “but we still need to prepare for that scary Pacquiao," Garcia ensured that folks wouldn’t accuse him and his team of taking their upcoming fight too lightly.
He also had effusive praise for his own guy.
“Brandon's been knocking our sparring partners out,” Garcia said. “He's doing a good job, looking so strong and so fast, and we've still got six weeks before the fight.”
He added: "Brandon's going to fight at welterweight, so he doesn't have to kill himself to make weight. He's strong and he's walking around 10, 12 pounds over the weight. But at six weeks before the fight that's no problem. Brandon's going to be faster.”
Pacquiao and Rios will settle things once and for all on Nov. 23 at the The Venetian Macao.