Rios: Nobody’s tune-up fight

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Monday, November 18, 2013


IF MANNY Pacquiao thinks that he will be in for an easy fight, he should think again. That is what Brandon Rios warned the Filipino superstar and his team just a few days away before their fight in Macau.

“They’re treating me like I’m some sort of joke and that I’m just showing up to be the victim for Manny Pacquiao,” Rios told Yahoo Sports. “I’m nobody’s tune-up fight and they’re going to find that out soon enough.”

Most believe that Rios’ brawling style is tailor-made for Pacquiao and that the plodding American boxer has no chance against the agile 34-year-old Filipino superstar.

“The more I see of Rios in the tapes, the better I feel,” Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach said. “He’s just a tough guy and tough guys don’t win fights. Manny can outbox him and he can do it with ease.”

Pacquiao and Rios will face off on Sunday morning for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) International welterweight belt at the Cotai Arena.

Pacquiao, 54-5-2 with 38 knockouts, is looking to end a two fight-losing slump this Sunday. He has lost his last two fights – a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley and a shocking sixth round knockout by bitter rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

The 27-year-old Rios, on the other hand, is coming off his first career defeat, a unanimous decision in the hands of Mike Alvarado. He has an impressive 31-1-1 slate with 23 knockouts.

Two legends of the sweet science gave Rios some piece of advice before the much-anticipated war this Sunday.

“First of all, the stars live in the sky,” said four-division world champion Roberto Duran. “On Earth, everyone is an equal. … I’d just give some advice to Brandon Rios: Go in and attack and don’t be afraid and don’t hesitate, because he can win if he fights intelligently.”

“What Brandon Rios needs to do is not let Pacquiao forget about what took place in his last fight,” said five-division world titleholder “Sugar” Ray Leonard said. “Rios has to jump right on top of Pacquiao, because what happens is when you get knocked out in the fashion that Pacquiao was knocked out, it becomes like an Achilles’ heel.”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 19, 2013.

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