Rios rumor claims he’s easy target | Inquirer Sports

Rios rumor claims he’s easy target

11:47 PM November 22, 2013

SACRAMENTO, California—There’s this rumor from Los Angeles that Manny Pacquiao’s training staff may have heard and ignored but would be devoured by the hangers-on who are just too eager to whisper something in the fighting congressman’s ear.

So those in Pacman’s coterie vying for his rare attention in Macau, listen up.

This bit of intrigue was passed on to me by a source who says he got the doozy from someone embedded in the Rios entourage, who in turn swore it is the gospel truth.

The rumor claims that Rios had a rough go of it in one of his sparring sessions at Robert Garcia’s Oxnard, California gym days before the trainer moved camp to Macau ahead of his fighter’s clash with Pacquiao Saturday night (Sunday noon in Asia) for the WBO international welterweight title.

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Fearless and confident, Rios (31-1-1, 23 knockouts), whose brawling, action-a-minute style suits Pacquiao’s handlers fine, was reportedly caught with a good shot to the head and knocked out cold by a stand-in southpaw sparring partner from the Romanza gym of fabled Mexican trainer Nacho Beristain.

Rios’ manager, Cameron Dunkin, who has issued a denial with dispatch, and Top Rank honcho-cum Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum were reportedly soaking up the atmosphere at the gym when the incident happened.

The rumor said Arum asked an HBO crew that tagged along  and was filming a segment of the 24/7 television marketing series for the fight to turn off its cameras while a doctor, who also happened to be at the scene administered first aid, including whiffs of oxygen to Rios.

Rumor or not, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, has always maintained that the 27-year-old Rios would be an easy target for the 34-year old Pacquiao in Sunday’s “Clash in Cotai.”  Rios, who has vowed to send his opponent into retirement, could be damaged goods even before he climbs  the ring with the Filipino ring icon.

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Roach, who figured in a fight of his own with Alex Ariza, Pacquiao’s ex-conditioning coach now working for Rios, has predicted that Manny would knock out Rios in two to four rounds.

Never outgunned, Rios trainer Garcia has urged Roach to “buy that gold watch” for Pacquiao, guaranteeing that the Macau bout will be the last time fans will see Pacquiao on HBO pay-per-view.

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Should he fail in his bid to send Pacquiao to the rocking chair, Rios himself can retire and live a charmed life after the fight.

Not counting his PPV take, Rios is guaranteed $4 million for his time on the big stage with Pacquiao, who will have to prove that he still has punching power after his stunning knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December.

Speaking of PPV, the Macau fight will be the first for HBO in an overseas location.

With the fight thousands of miles away from the United States, Arum and his crew will have to work double time to drum up PPV sales up to the start of the main event.

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The prevailing view is that the bout should have been held in boxing’s hub—Las Vegas  or in California, home of huge Filipino and Mexican communities, boxing’s traditional hotbeds of support.

TAGS: Brandon Rios, Clash in Cotai, Manny Pacquaio

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