Rios: I’m not a tune-up fight for Pacquiao
By Chris Williams: Former WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO’s) doesn’t like the idea that some people perceive him as little more than just a tune-up fight for Filipino Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO’s) to sharpen up his skills against before he faces one of his past conquering opponents that he wants revenge against like Tim Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez. Rios sees Pacquiao as an aging fighter ready to be picked off by him.
Rios didn’t think that years ago when Pacquiao was dominating his opposition, but he seems slippage in his game now and he’s ready to to join Marquez and Bradley as guys that have beaten Pacquiao. It’s still a small club, but the longer that Pacquiao fights the larger that club will be.
Rios told Hustleboss “It’s just another fight for me. I think he’s getting older…I think I’m ready and I’ll take him out. He can look good against a sparring partner. He’s not fighting a sparring partner. I’m going to show the world I’m not a tuneup fight.”
Pacquiao will be turning 35 in December, and that’s pretty old for a small fighter who started his career as a flyweight. He’s put weight on as he’s gotten older but he’s still a fighter that started his career at the lighter weights, and those type of fighters tend to burn out a lot quicker with their careers compared to the bigger fighters. 35 is old for almost any division. It’s rare that you see a fighter that’s 35 and still fighting at a high level. You get some that are able to hang on at that age, but it’s still incredibly rare.
There’s been a lot of talk about how Pacquiao has been looking good in his sparring sessions, but we’re not hearing about Pacquiao fighting top level guys in his sessions. The names that I’ve heard about are prospects and not guys that are dangerous punchers like Rios. It’s possible that Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach will have some top quality guys coming over for Pacquiao to spar with, at least you would hope so for Pacquiao’s sake. He’s going to need some top notch fighters to get him ready for this fight to keep him from getting knocked out again.
For Rios, Pacquiao is the ideal opponent for him because in his last fight against Mike Alvarado, Rios had to chase him all around the ring for 12 rounds just to try and get him to engage. That wasn’t a good style for Rios, who prefers his opposition to come straight at him the way Pacquiao does.
This could be considered a 50-50 fight due to Pacquiao having lost his last two fights and coming off of a knockout loss. It’s not surprising that Roach is talking as if this is going to be an easy fight for Pacquiao, because Roach is going by the fighter that Pacquiao used to be rather than what he is now. I don’t think it’s fully registered with Roach that his fighter is starting to get old at 35.