By Chris Williams: Not only is Trainer Freddie Roach cocky about his fighter Manny Pacquiao’s fight this Saturday night against Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO’s) in Macao, China, but now Pacquiao is starting to sound like he’s getting overconfident about the fight.
I guess you can’t blame Pacquiao, because Rios has been selected by their promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank to make Pacquiao look good due to him being slow and easy to hit. But if Pacquiao isn’t able to get a stoppage of Rios after hitting him repeatedly with head shots, then it’s going to be a big problem for Pacquiao and for Arum for making the fight.
If Rios can walk trough Pacquiao’s shots next Saturday for 12 rounds, he’s going to have plenty opportunities to test his chin and he may be able to hit him hard enough to get the aging fighter out of there. At the very least, Rios could add a lot of wear and tear on Pacquiao that could hurt him in his future fights.
Pacquiao told HBO “It’s a good fight. I think I can easily hit him in the face.”
That may be so, but if Rios is used to being hit in the face. This isn’t a weight drained Ricky Hatton that Pacquiao is facing next Saturday night in Macao, so Pacquiao might be in for a shock when his punches to Rios’ face fail to slow him down or send him to the canvas as they did to Hatton. Rios is younger than Hatton when he fought Pacquiao, and he didn’t go through a huge weight loss program in getting ready for this fight. Rios is actually moving up in weight.
When you get older like Pacquiao, it becomes harder to fight for a full three minutes of every round. We could see that in this fight, and if Pacquiao lets off for 1-2 minutes of every round, that’s time that he’s going to have to be eating punches from Rios, because he’s not going to let up. Rios isn’t an aging fighter that needs rest breaks. He’s going to keep nailing Pacquiao with head and body shots. With enough shots landed, Rios could hit Pacquiao with the perfect punch that puts him down on his face just like what we saw with Juan Manuel Marquez knocking Pacquiao out cold last December.
Pacquiao is like a lot of older fighters with the way that he’s seeing Rios through the eyes of what he used to be able to do to his opponents in the past. But Pacquiao hasn’t won a fight in over 2 years, and he’s not looked good since his win over Antonio Margarito in 2010. If it was just a one fight thing where Pacquiao didn’t look good, then you could see it as a blip on the radar screen. But when it’s four consecutive fights covering three years of time, then you have to see it as a trend and as something that may in fact be permanent with Pacquiao’s game. In other words, Pacquiao’s poor performances could be a sign that he’s aging and wearing down from his many wars. For that reason, I think he’s kidding himself if he’s going to be able to do to Rios what he’s done to countless other opponents in the past. That was then this is now. The Pacquiao from 1500 yesterdays ago no longer exists. We now have an older one that’s lost his last two fights, is coming off of a knockout loss, and who seems to have stamina problems.