By Jackie Kallen
Normally I don’t pull for one fighter over another. Unless I manage one of the boxers, I just hope to see a good, well-fought bout. But this weekend I am actually hoping that Manny Pacquiao hands Brandon Rios his second loss in a row.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Not that I have anything against Rios. He seems like a good guy. But I do have a problem with the way his camp has acted in the past when it comes to Freddie Roach. Friction between entourages is common and expected. It is usually spirited and is a school yard-type “my fighter is better than your fighter” dialogue.
When it sinks to the level of making fun of a man’s handicaps or afflictions, it reaches new lows. Alex Ariza should be ashamed of himself. So Roach fired him. Big deal. Men have been fired before. Garcia scooped him up and brought him into their camp. He should be grateful.
I realize that Freddie Roach has a temper and perhaps he said a few inflammatory things in the heat of anger (or impatience.) But since when is it acceptable to kick a man in the chest? That crossed the line.
To be fair, Rios stayed out of the fracas and Manny wasn’t even there. I still watched the tape and walked away hoping that Pacman teaches the seven-years younger Rios a boxing lesson. Both men are coming off of losses, In Manny’s case–two losses. Either man is capable of beating the other. But it would nice to see Pacquiao dig deep and come up with the win.
There is a big question mark about where Pacman is in his career. How much does he have left? How much did the Marquez KO take out of him? Can he go to the well one more time and show flashes of his former greatness? I hope so.
Brandon Rios has amassed a nice 31-1-1 record. He has KOed almost 70% of his opponents. But beating a guy like Richard Abril or Omri Lowther is not the same as beating De La Hoya, Cotto, Margarito, Mosley and Hatton. Rios is in deep. Manny Pacquiao is not Rios’s typical opponent.
I have never been a fan of thug mentality and the Rios team acts like high-school bullies. Making fun of Roach’s disabilities does not make their man a better fighter. Hopefully this whole embarrassing incident will be settled in the ring. Roach did not kick Ariza back, but maybe Manny will settle the score.
I look for Rios to come out strong, trying to establish supremacy and dominate Pacquiao. That may be a good plan on paper, but Manny is a smart, crafty fighter who has over 60 bouts under his belt. There is nothing that Rios can show him that he hasn’t seen. Rios is no Timothy Bradley, and even though Bradley got the win in June 2012, most ringsiders felt Manny won.
Pacquiao has more KOs that Rios has total fights. When Rios turned pro in 2004, Pacquiao had already been in more than 40 fights. After his last two losses, his status may have dropped. But he is still one of the top 20 P4P fighters in the world. His legacy is cast in stone.
For no specific reason, I feel that Pacquiao will shine this weekend and stop Rios. I see it as a TKO in the middle rounds.