MANNY Pacquiao is no longer the menacing physical specimen he used to be, and Brandon Rios could exploit this when they tangle on Nov. 24 in Macau.
This was the assessment of 2012 Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia, who is preparing Rios for the 12-round welterweight bout set at Cotai Arena of Venetian Macao.
In an interview with BoxingScene.com, Garcia said he saw the subtle decline in Pacquiao’s prowess during the Filipino icon’s last two fights against Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao beat Marquez by majority decision on Nov. 12, 2011 before suffering a sixth-round knockout to the Mexican last Dec. 8. In a dubious decision, Pacquiao lost on points to American Timothy Bradley on June 9, 2012.
“He (Pacquiao) does not have the same strength and his legs are suffering from cramps,” Garcia told Salvador Rodriguez.
Regardless of his observation, however, Garcia said he would train Rios “for the best Pacquiao, the same one from four years ago.”
Garcia manned Antonio Margarito’s corner when Pacquiao beat the towering Mexican to virtual retirement before about 41,000 fans on Nov. 13, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.
Though Garcia acknowledged that Rios’ onrushing, swinging style is similar to that of Margarito, he was quick to point out that Rios is nearly 10 years younger than Margarito and is (hungrier) for fame.
Having thoroughly studied tapes of Pacquiao-Margarito, Garcia said there were technical aspects in that fight that could have benefited his ward back then.
Garcia, who also trained Fil-Americans Nonito Donaire and Brian Viloria in the past, also hopes to inject new techniques in Rios’ arsenal that could neutralize Pacquiao’s advantage in speed and, perhaps, power.
While Rios has been regularly working out in the gym since early July, Pacquiao only started light training on Monday in General Santos City.
Interviewed by GMA Network that day, Pacquiao said he would come up with new technique and strategy for his pay-per-view fight with Rios.