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Manny Pacquiao: The Real Underdog Against Brandon Rios

Brandon Rios Manny PacquiaoBy Miguel Alejandro Lopez: Top Rank officially announced the return date for boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao. The 8 division titlist will fight on November 24, 2013 (November 23 in the U.S) against puncher slugger Brandon Rios in Macau, China.

Many people expect that Pacquiao will have the upper hand in this fight, but the truth is that in many respects, he is the true underdog.

First, “Bam Bam” Rios is a younger fighter who has not taken as much punishment than Pacquiao in his career. He has less than 40 fights at this point, compared to Pacquiao who has more than 60. In short, the Pacman has a lot of mileage on him than his younger opponent.

The next reason why Pacquiao is the underdog is because he is coming from the longest layoff of his career. The last time he fought was in December 2012, and by the time he fights Rios, that will be an 11-month period away from the ring. As Manny said in the past against Hatton, it is very hard for a fighter to stay in the best shape if he goes away from the ring for long periods of time. Meanwhile, Rios’ most recent fight was just few weeks ago. He will be able to “carry over” some of the effects of his conditioning from that last fight to the next one.

Another reason why Pacquiao is the underdog because Tim Bradley and Marquez showed some blueprint on how NOT to be butchered by Pacquiao. Bradley simply clinched and ducked his way into “winning” the fight against Manny, while Marquez avoided Pacman’s most powerful punches by back-pedaling each time Manny comes in too strong. Expect Rios to do more of the same and try to wear down Pacquiao.

Manny Pacquiao should take this fight very very seriously if he wants to win. The idea that Rios is “tailor made” for him is a myth, and should not be relied upon. He should stay away from politics and reconnect to his roots. He should bring back the old forms of rigid training like hitting himself with a wooden stick to be familiar with pain, plyometrics muscle training, lateral movement drills, and sparring with heavier opponents who hits harder.

Furthermore, trainer Freddie Roach is showing a lot of slippage himself. It seems that the Parkinson’s is taking its toll on the legendary trainer, and its time to use the help of other boxing experts in addition to Roach. In the Oscar De La Hoya fight, the Pacquiao Team included former heavyweight champion Michael Moorer. Pacquiao should think about having Moorer again on the team, or at least get a former legendary boxer to be in his training camp to assist Freddie, as well as provide other views and suggestions that could help Pacquiao improve his defense.

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