Freddie Ready for Rios
In anticipation of the November 23 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios at The Venetian Macao’s CotaiArena in Macao, China, Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, speaking from Pacquiao’s training camp in General Santos City, Philippines, met with the press earlier today via teleconference call to talk about the upcoming fight.
“Training camp has been going great,” he said. “We have been sparring very well. We have six rounds to spar tomorrow and four rounds on Saturday. Then we are going to head to Macau Monday afternoon after training. We are 90% ready. We have the game plan down. We know how we are going to fight Brandon Rios. He’s a taller guy and we have been watching the tapes of his last ten fights. We have a great game plan and Manny knows how to fight this fighter.”
Pacquiao has spoken about his renewed love for boxing. He says he feels like a kid again.
“He is doing really good,” said Roach. “He had a great run in the morning. He did a lot of sprints and had a great run. When he came into the gym, he looked a little tired and I said, ‘You know Manny, you can take the day off. Go home and get some rest.’ I think what has happened here is weighing on his mind. We have had a lot of calls about the tragedy of course. We do talk about it in the gym—about how many people got killed in the storm and how many more have been affected. He is focused on the fight still but obviously it is a big distraction because it killed all of those people.”
What happened in the Philippines due to Typhoon Haiyan is weighing on many people’s minds. These “weather events” are occurring with alarming frequency. Perhaps that’s a coincidence; perhaps not.
Pacquiao is coming off back-to-back losses. The loss to Timothy Bradley is easy to dismiss as a decision that went awry. Less easy to dismiss, in fact impossible to dismiss, is the knockout he suffered at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight.
“I think it is a situation where he has to look impressive in this fight and we are doing everything possible to do that. We have Manny’s mind on the right path I believe. He knows he has to look impressive in the fight and he knows Brandon Rios is coming off of a loss also. We can’t give into him at all in this fight.
“He has definitely put the knockout behind him. Manny Pacquiao knows that the knockout is part of the sport. He realizes that if you aren’t able to handle the knockout you picked the wrong sport. He is totally recovered and is brave as ever in the ring.”
Roach admits the Rios is a “tough kid,” but said “The more I see of Rios in the tapes the better I feel. He’s just a tough guy and tough guys don’t win fights. Manny can outbox him and he can do it with ease.”
Roach studied the two fights with Mike Alvarado and they were revealing: “The first fight obviously [Rios] looked great and he stopped him. In the second fight he got outboxed and I told Manny, ‘That’s how you beat this guy, you outbox him. You don’t trade with this guy. You just weave in and out and the fight will be easy.’ I know he is a tough guy but tough guys don’t win fights. Good boxers win fights.”
After he was knocked unconscious by Marquez, many thought we might have seen the last of Manny Pacquiao. Freddie, however, isn’t one of them.
“Manny was fighting one of the best fights he has fought in a long time. He fell into the punch. Those things happen, whether it was a lucky punch [or not]. Marquez was throwing a lot of punches. The thing, in that fight, if Manny had waited one second more, Manny was going to win that fight by knockout. Nothing carried over. I know people are skeptical…but knockouts are what they are. Manny Pacquiao is a realist. He understands it is part of the sport. He’s been knocked out twice before. So he accepts that and I don’t think it’s going to affect him at all. But we probably won’t know until the fight.”
Those looking to be reassured might not be reassured by those less than reassuring words.
“To be honest with you,” he continued, “when I was knocked out for the first time, it changed my whole career, because I was never as brave as Manny. I lost my self-confidence. But Manny is not like me. I know everybody doesn’t think the same way, but since he accepts it, it doesn’t bother him.”