Manny Pacquiao and his camp have been getting increasingly confident about their chances against Brandon Rios over the past few months. What started out with simple statements about how the Filipino star is healthy and feels good heading into this month’s fight, have turned into proclamations of a knockout. Mind you, not just any knockout – a really early knockout.
Earlier this week, Pacquiao raised some eyebrows when he compared this upcoming showdown versus Rios to his infamous 2009 dismantling of Ricky Hatton. In that fight, which in retrospect received far more hype and acclaim than it probably should have, Pacquiao absolutely destroyed his opponent en route to a second round knockout.
"My gameplan for Rios will be similar to the one I had for Ricky Hatton,” Pacquiao said a few days ago. “That fight didn't go long enough for me to unveil everything. Maybe this time I'll be able to show more of that plan. Maybe."
Now, in an interview with Sun Star, Pacquiao’s trainer has decided to get in on the fun. Apparently Freddie Roach sees Rios as being a slightly more formidable foe than Pacquiao does – but not by much.
“I think Rios will last until the sixth round,” Roach said. “I'm very confident we'll knock him out.”
He added: “He knows how to win this fight; he’s really hungry. I’ll be very disappointed if Manny doesn’t knock Rios out," said Roach.”
Again, it’s worth remembering: the closest Pacquiao has gotten to a knockout since 2009 is when he got dropped by Juan Manuel Marquez last December. That’s it. This is 2013, it’s not 2009. Pacquiao will not win this fight, or any other, by knockout. He doesn’t have the power anymore. If he couldn’t finish off an injured, completely hobbled Timothy Bradley last year, he’s not going to take down a guy in Rios whose chin is made of granite.
Rios doesn’t constantly move forward because he’s stupid and wants to be knocked out; he does it because he can handle the punishment that comes with that sort of style. It may not be the best long-term strategy for a fighter who wants to have a career in boxing, but it’ll suit him just fine on Nov. 23.
Here’s to hoping that Pacquiao and Roach are just trying to build up their confidence with all these ludicrous statements. Because if they aren’t, and if they truly believe the nonsense they’ve been spewing over the past few months, they’re in for a rude awakening on fight night.