Brandon Rios believes that Manny Pacquiao is “going to leave himself open” at some point during their fight in Macau on Nov. 23 (Nov. 24 in China), adding that when Pacquiao does, “I’m going to catch his ass, and when I catch his ass, he’s going to go down.”
Rios (31-1-1, 23 knockouts) is coming off a close unanimous-decision loss in a rematch with Mike Alvarado, while Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) is attempting to rebound from consecutive losses: a split-decision to WBO beltholder Tim Bradley last June and sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
“Everybody thinks that I have no power, and that I just pressure guys and that’s how I break them down,” said Rios, 27, a former lightweight beltholder. “But they’re going to see a different story in this fight. When he got knocked out by Marquez, everybody saw that Manny Pacquiao is just a human being. Marquez showed that. He’s not a God. Marquez showed that he’s vulnerable to being punched and that he can get knocked out.”
“So we’re going to test him and try to do the same thing. There’s no secret to my style or Manny’s style, but he does make mistakes. He does swing wildly, and he does leave his chin open. He jumps in crazy and everything, so we’ll be ready for that and prepared. The way that I fight, to me, the way that I see it, my mentality, and my focus, he’s going to leave himself open and I’m going to catch his ass, and when I catch his ass, he’s going to go down, because everybody don’t appreciate my power. They will appreciate it, though, in this fight.”
Rios is making his 147-pound debut against Pacquiao, who has fought seven times as a welterweight, and, once even weighed in at as much as 148 pounds for his junior middleweight triumph over Antonio Margarito in November of 2010.
Still, Rios said he has no concerns about whether or not his punching power will translate into the higher division, and that he cannot wait to stand, eye-to-eye, with Pacquiao when their press tour begins later this month.
“Face-to-face, that will be my first time actually having a conversation with him, talking about the fight and whatever. I’ve seen him before, but only from a distance, and never face-to-face,” said Rios.
“But my power is going to be the same, and it might be even a little better power because I’m moving up in weight, and I don’t have to kill myself…I’m going to just fight the way that I’ve been fighting, man. I’m going to just fight the way that I fight.”
Rios believes that one key is to get Pacquiao to fight in retreat, which he believes will be the beginning of the end.
“I’m going to do more than back him up. Yes, he’s been the boss for a while, and I’m not taking nothing away from Manny Pacquiao, but now it’s out with the old and in with the new,” said Rios. “Me, I have to go in the ring as the boss man and to show that he can’t push me around. I’m not scared of his power or anything. I’m going to go in there and do what I have to do.”
If necessary, Rios said that could mean that he will make slight adjustments and box Pacquiao without compromising his pressuring style.
“People don’t give me credit. People say that I have no head movement and no defense and that I just come in straight and take punches. That’s not the case. But I’m just going to fight the way that I fight. It got me to where I’m at today, and I’m fighting one of the best in the world, so, obviously, I’m doing something right. In the Alvarado fights, I came out of the ring not that marked up. Alvarado came out of the ring busted up. I hardly got hit,” said Rios.
“People say that I have no defense, but this is boxing, and everybody gets hit once in a while. This is boxing. Even the great Floyd Mayweather gets hit once in a while. It’s boxing. It’s part of the sport. So the way that I fight has helped me out a lot. I’m not worrying about what people say. They can talk all of the s–t that they want. It don’t bother me. I’m going to give the fans an exciting show, like always, and I’m confident, not cocky, that I’ll come out victorious. I know what I have to do and I’ll be ready for this guy.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com