CEBU CITY—Even with his longest ring layoff yet, Manny Pacquiao should have little trouble beating Brandon Rios on Nov. 24. That is, if the Sarangani representative focuses on the task at hand.
This was the common opinion of fight promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud, a trusted confidant of Pacquiao, and Filipino trainers Buboy Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.
The three cited the fact that Rios moves and fights like Antonio Margarito, whom Pacquiao dominated when they tangled on Nov. 13, 2010 in Texas.
Salud said he’s certain Pacquiao will bounce back form the devastating sixth round knockout loss he suffered against Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
“Manny is different. You can’t question his heart,” said Salud, chief promoter of last night’s World Boxing Organization bantamweight title fight between Namibian champion Paulus Ambunda and Japanese challenger Tomoki Kameda at Waterfront Hotel and Casino here.
Salud said Pacquiao had exuded confidence of trouncing Rios and regaining the old luster of an illustrious fight career that gave him an unprecedented eight world titles.
Fernandez, who’ll again handle Pacquiao’s preparations for the Rios bout prior to the arrival of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in October, said Rios “is there to be hit,” noting the Mexican-American’s straight forward style with little head movement.
Neri, who doubles as Pacquiao’s personal cook during training camps, said Pacquiao keeps himself fit by playing basketball and scuba diving in Gen. Santos City.
“He (Pacquiao) also sleeps early now,” added Neri, whose newly built MP Gym in Toril, Davao, maybe Pacquiao’s main training site.
Though Salud, Fernandez and Neri agree that Rios is also a “dangerous fighter” being a volume puncher with a granite chin, they believe that his chances of besting Pacquiao is minimal.