Manny Pacquiao’s upcoming showdown against Brandon Rios is an important one for obvious reasons. He is coming off two consecutive losses. The last one, especially, came in particularly devastating fashion and made many wonder whether he still had what it took to succeed in boxing. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Pacquiao’s own trainer, Freddie Roach, has insisted that another loss will result in retirement.
The reason why Brandon Rios was hand-picked by Pacquiao’s team is because they felt like he was the most beatable opponent they had. Between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios, presumably because the latter had just loss to the former, they decided that Rios posed the less risky match-up. It remains to be seen whether that assertion was correct or not, but Pacquiao seems to really believe it.
During a recent media session with reporters regarding the November bout, Pacquiao didn’t waver when pressed about how confident he was heading into this showdown.
"I saw him [Rios] fight before,” he told the South China Morning Post. “I have confidence for the fight. Part of my confidence comes from experience and I believe I am stronger than him and of course, I have God.”
So based on having seen him fight before, Pacquiao determined that he is “stronger” than Rios and more likely to emerge victorious. That’s a pretty bold pronouncement, seeing as Pacquiao, despite his apparent strength, hasn’t knocked anyone out in years. Moreover, if Pacquiao had in fact seen “him fight before,” the Filipino star should know that Rios is notoriously difficult to take down.
"I can still fight for another two, or two-and-a-half years,” Pacquiao continued. “I will be 36 or 37 [by that time] before I can retire.”
What’s interesting about that particular quote is the fact that Pacquiao promised Roach he’d quit if he lost this upcoming fight. So if is already making plans to fight for another two years, that means the former eight division champ really and truly expects to beat Rios down this November.
For what it’s worth, odds makers side with Pacquiao. They’ve had him installed as the favorite from the beginning. Are they right to have so much confidence? Is Pacquiao right to be this cocky? We’ll find out soon enough.