Pacquiao eager to punish Rios camp for mocking coach

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Thursday, November 21, 2013


MACAU -- Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach said the boxer will use Sunday’s fight against Brandon Rios to punish members of the Rios camp who mocked Roach’s speech, which is affected by Parkinson’s disease.

The fallout from Wednesday’s physical confrontation between Roach and the Rios camp continued Thursday, with Roach saying Pacquiao had watched video of the heated incident in which Roach was kicked and his speech mocked.

“(Pacquiao) said to me ‘are those the guys that made fun of you?’ and I said yes, and he said ‘that’s all I need to know’ and he walked away,” the US-born Roach told The Associated Press on Thursday. “He told me he’s going to take care of this guy quickly.”

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Roach, 53, was kicked by his former co-worker and Pacquiao cornerman Alex Ariza -- now in the Rios camp assisting head trainer Robert Garcia -- and while Roach initially called for police to arrest Ariza, he laughed off the seriousness of the confrontation a day later. [Watch the video.]

“What (Ariza) doesn’t realize is that Manny hits me 10 times harder every day. It was like a girl kicking me,” Roach said.

Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach
MACAU. In this Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013 photo released by the Venetian Macao, Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao (center), accompanied by his trainer Freddie Roach (right), arrives at the main lobby of the Venetian Macao in Macau. (AP)


Sunday’s fight (Saturday night US time with an undercard beginning at 7 p.m. ET) will be Pacquiao’s first since getting savagely knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez almost a year ago.

The Filipino, once regarded as pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, is keen to restore his standing in the boxing world after successive defeats against Marquez and a much-criticized judging decision in favor of Tim Bradley.

“He’s hungry after the year off, he’s anxious to get in the ring and he’s anxious to show the world he’s still an elite fighter,” Roach said. “The best way to do that is to knock Brandon Rios out, we both know that, and I have stressed that to him.”

“Initially, I didn’t think the fight would go six rounds, and after the way he’s worked out, I don’t think it will go four,” Roach added.

Pacquiao has not stopped an opponent since he fought Miguel Cotto four years ago, but Roach feels Rios’ aggressive style will open the door for a quick finish.

“Rios is a tough guy and tough guys don’t win fights, good boxers win fights,” Roach said. “The more I watch him on tape the worse he gets.

“We will box him and the knockout will come with Manny’s hand speed and combinations and Rios not having a good defense. One thing we know is that Rios will fight back and that’s our big advantage because Manny is a beautiful counter-puncher and we’ve been working quite a bit on that in the gym,” said Roach.

Sunday’s fight in Macao, which will be aired Saturday night US time, is for the vacant WBO welterweight title.

Meanwhile, two Filipinos will fight in the undercard.

Unbeaten 19-year-old prospect Harmonito Dela Torre and Pacquiao sparring partner Dan Nazareno Jr. are the two Filipino included in the card that is comprised predominantly of Asian boxers.

Dela Torre, a native of General Santos City, is facing one of his toughest tests in his international debut against Indonesian Jason Butar-Butar in a six-round fight. Dela Torre just made his pro debut last year and has been on a roll.

Dela Torre is coming off a wide unanimous decision victory over journeyman Richard Olisa. The 25-year-old Butar-Butar, on the other hand, beat fellow Indonesian Arief Blader by decision.

Dela Torre is 10-0 with five knockouts, while Butar-Butar is 15-11-1 with 11 knockouts.

Nazareno Jr., in the meantime, is taking on British boxer Liam Vaughan in a four-round light middleweight fight.

Nazareno Jr., who acted as Pacquiao’s sparring partner for Rios, isn’t a stranger to fighting outside the Philippines. He has fought eight times outside of the country, the likes of South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Mexico and Russia.

Nazareno Jr. lost his last fight, a second round technical knockout in the hands of Min-Wook Kim in South Korea.

The 23-year-old Vaughan hasn’t fought any reputable boxers. Nazareno should be his stiffest test. He has won five fights in a row against opponents with a combined record of 15-42-5.

The 24-year-old Nazareno Jr. is 17-10 with 13 knockouts, while Vaughan is 8-1 with two knockouts. (AP/With a report from EKA of Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 22, 2013.

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