‘Get them for me’
MACAU—Freddie Roach now sees Brandon Rios as an open target for Manny Pacquiao.
The Hall of Fame trainer first described Rios’ defense as “gaping.” Then he went on to say Brandon has no defense whatsoever.
And impressed with Pacquiao’s rejuvenated power, Roach was prompted to alter his knockout prediction Thursday.
From six rounds, Roach, after their training on Monday, said Rios will now go in four.
“Initially I said six, but if Manny punches like that (in Monday’s session), he (Rios) will be out in four,” Roach told Filipino sportswriters at the cavernous press center, which is the main ballroom of The Venetian Macao.
Roach certainly hopes that he is right, especially after a scuffle Wednesday morning here when both camps crossed paths at the training room.
Conditioning trainer Alex Ariza, the sacked former Team Pacquiao member who bolted to the Rios camp, kicked Roach on the chest following an altercation due to overlapping schedule.
Though Pacquiao did not say a word about the two incidents, Roach said Manny’s facial expression convinced him that his message “to get these guys for me” got across.
It has certainly become personal for Roach. This is not the first time the Rios camp drew his ire.
The first time occurred in 2010, when Antonio Margarito and Rios, with trainer Robert Garcia around, were caught on video mocking his illness. Roach suffers from Parkinson’s syndrome.
According to Roach, their biggest advantage is that “Rios punches back,” leaving him vulnerable to Pacquiao’s power punches.
Roach said Rios is there for Pacquiao’s taking.
“The more I watch (Rios’ fight tapes), the worse he gets,” said the Hall of Fame trainer.
“He doesn’t do anything spectacular, he’s not special. He’s just a tough guy, he’s just in front of you, he swings back, but he’s too slow for Manny in my opinion.”
Roach even regards Ricky Hatton as a better fighter. Pacquiao knocked out a charging Hatton in two rounds in 2009.
That Pacquiao has failed to score a knockout since he stopped Miguel Cotto also in 2009 doesn’t worry Roach a bit.
He believes Pacquiao has an even greater motivation to perform well after back-to-back losses (to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez) and the devastation brought about by Supertyphoon Yolanda back home.
“Manny wants to prove he’s still an elite fighter,” said Roach. “And Rios is on a different level.”
Plus, Roach also believes that Team Rios’ disrespect for him will prop up Pacquiao to go for the knockout even more.