Ever since it was announced that Manny Pacquiao would take on Brandon Rios this November, he has been regarded as a heavy favorite. Maybe not as heavy a favorite as he was prior to his back-to-back defeats versus Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, but still a pretty sizable one.
On one hand, this is understandable.
Pacquiao, when he’s at his best, is a quicker and more intelligent fighter than Rios. He doesn’t have the skills necessary to knock Rios out, obviously, but he can definitely outpoint him en route to a decision victory.
On the other hand, Rios is also exactly the type of fighter who might give Pacquiao trouble nowadays.
Rios, 27, has won 31 fights. Of those 31 wins, 23 have come by knockout. He employs a style that requires him to move forward at all times, absorbing each bit of punishment that comes his way and then throwing it back twice as hard. It’s not ideal if you want to have longevity in the sport, but it’s perfect if you want to be the sort of guy who can drop anyone on any given night.
When you combine Rios’ ability to knock folks out with the fact that Pacquiao very recently had his chin tested, one can’t help but wonder if perhaps Rios’ shot at victory is being a bit understated.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum doesn’t seem to think so.
“Manny, to me, looks more dedicated than ever and General Santos City is the perfect place for him to train,” Arum told Fight News. “He concentrates on nothing but his training and I think the Manny Pacquiao you are going to see on Nov. 23 is going to be perhaps better than the Manny Pacquiao we saw against (Oscar) de la Hoya, (Ricky) Hatton and (Miguel) Cotto.”
Pacquiao, for what it’s worth, apparently feels the same way.
“My training for this fight has been unique and my training camp has been very long for this fight,” he said. “My preparation has been going very well so I think it is going to be an exciting fight. I have given over 100 percent for this fight.”
When pressed specifically on how his style matches up with Rios’ the Filipino star offered this reply:
“That’s what I want, his style of fighting. He likes to come inside and I like that style. I don’t like to chase and I’m pretty sure I won’t have to chase him,” said Pacquiao referring to Rios’ style. “The key to winning the fight is to train hard and to focus while in training. Focus on my speed and power so I am ready when I get into the ring.”
Pacquiao and Rios will square off on Nov. 23 in Macao.