Rios targets bigger Pacquiao weakness

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MACAU—Other than the brittle chin, there’s a more vulnerable spot in Manny Pacquiao which Brandon Rios can try and strike when they duel around noon at the Cotai Arena here tomorrow.

Trainer Robert Garcia said this doesn’t mean his fighter would dig in early and jump at the target.

It won’t be easy, the famous trainer explained, adding that stopping or beating Pacquiao four years ago would have been next to impossible.

“Let’s say he was something like 140 or 130 percent in 2009,” Garcia said.

That was the same year when Pacquiao, ferocious and seemingly invulnerable, mauled and bloodied tall Antonio Margarito, then handled by Garcia, in a one-sided light middleweight contest in Las Vegas.

Garcia assured that Pacquiao, despite back-to-back failures last year, is still dangerous and deadly, capable of scoring a knockout at any point in a bout.

“Let’s say he’s now still 100 percent, but then he could also be stopped at any round,” Garcia told the Inquirer in a one-on-one huddle after yesterday’s round-table interviews with the two top trainers here at the media center.

Composed and firm-eyed, Garcia explained that, before the tragic sixth round in December 2012 when Juan Manuel Marquez dumped Pacquiao frozen to the floor, Manny had first been decked by a simple right hook to the temple midway in the third round.

“Manny was upright moving back when he got hit and floored,” Garcia reminded.

More than show that Pacquiao could be toppled with a shot other than a counterpunch to the chin, that surprise toppling, which had visibly startled and shaken up Pacquiao, also showed he had started to develop other soft spots (in his anatomy) through the cruel years.

Garcia said the slippage was inevitable and, in fact, had started to surface in Pacquiao’s sloppy finish against Shane Mosley, before visibly slowing down Pacquiao in the second half of his controversial loss to Tim Bradley.

Pacquiao could indeed be speedier, sharper than Rios but Garcia did not have to say  that the comebacking Filipino hero can also be hurt or shaken if struck in other parts (of the body) other than the chin.

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