Part of what makes legendary boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. so great is their inherent belief that they can beat anyone. Regardless of whether their foe is bigger, stronger or more skilled, these guys’ faith in their own skills is so strong that they just know they’ll find a way to persevere.
Given the mindset all these greats have, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that Pacquiao expects to defeat Brandon Rios when the two square off in November. During a recent interview, the Filipino star didn’t even try to conceal his confidence regarding how things will go.
"I saw him [Rios] fight before. I have confidence for the fight,” he told the South China Morning Post.
What was mildly surprising about Pacquiao’s proclamation wasn’t that his confidence in his own skills, it’s why specifically he thinks he has what it takes to beat Rios.
“Part of my confidence comes from experience and I believe I am stronger than him and of course, I have God," he said during the same interview.
The last prominent guy who cited God as the reason why he was destined to beat his opponent was Robert Guerrero prior to the Mayweather bout. Not only did he fail to achieve victory in that match, he was also busted on a gun charge leading up to it.
That’s not to say there is anything wrong with faith – faith is a good thing. The belief in a higher power is something a lot of athletes and non-athletes share. The problem arises when folks put all their hope in God. And the fact that Pacquiao still hasn’t started seriously training for Rios, despite how his last two fights have gone, seems to indicate that the former eight division champ isn’t doing what he needs to do to prepare for Rios.
"It's difficult for me because I haven't fought since last December, but what I need to do this time is to prepare and to start working out and get back the condition I had before," he said.
“My training with Freddie [Roach] will last about six weeks, but before that you have to start training. Next month I will begin … my training in General Santos [the Philippines].”
It’s good that Pacquiao is planning to begin training in September for a match due to take place in November – but couldn’t he have started in June? Considering he’s going to fight exactly once this year, and taking into account the ramifications of this match, wouldn’t it have been smart to begin preparing slightly earlier than usual?
Odds makers think Pacquiao will prevail in this one, fans seem to favor the Filipino star, and Pacquiao thinks he’ll come out on top. But we’ve seen this play out before. Twice. Popular sentiment regarding who will beat who doesn’t matter when two guys square off in the ring. At that point it’s all skill, heart and preparation. Pacquiao can’t do anything about the first two – you either have them or you don’t. He does have control over the last one, though. And at the moment he doesn’t seem to be doing much about it.