Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios: Pacman’s Retirement Looming as Brandon Eyes KO of his Career
Former pound-for-pound champion Manny Pacquiao is bracing for the "fight of his career" against former lightweight champion Brandon Rios. Many experts picked Pacman cruising for an easy win, but a more prepared and well conditioned Bam Bam can be deadly for the Filipino champ in many ways.
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Pacquiao enters the ring for the first time in roughly a year to revive a boxing career dampened by a sixth round TKO loss to rival Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
According to reports by a local radio station Bombo Radio, the eight-division world champion has already reached his top form with still over a week left before his showdown with Rios. The 34-year-old Pacquiao is expected to "tone down" his training entering the final week of his preparation to prevent freak accidents and keep his body fresh for the fight.
The Threat of Bam Bam
Despite being viewed as a 'tune-up' fighter for Pacquiao, Rios remains focused and eager to pull off the biggest win of his career at Pacman's expense.
Under the tutelage of Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia and the guidance of conditioning guru Alex Ariza, Rios believed he had his best training camp ever.
Erick De Leon, former U.S. National Champion and sparring partner to Rios, said Bam Bam is hitting harder than before and unleashing big blows on the body more than ever. De Leon added that Rios has been explosive in sparring sessions, and this could be his edge against Pacquiao on fight night.
"On November 23, sooner or later in the ring, (Manny) Pacquiao is going to have to engage. When that happens Rios is going to unload the way he did against me today," De Leon told Boxing Scene.
Pacquiao's Potential Retirement
Though Pacquiao is having one of his best training camps ever, chief trainer Freddie Roach did not rule out the possibility of Pacman hanging his gloves for good.
Roach, who served not only as a trainer but a father figure to Pacquiao throughout his epic boxing career, said he made a pact with Manny that he will retire, if he comes up with a poor performance against Rios.
"It's really hard to say until we see the fight, but I will be the first one to tell him to retire," Roach told ESPN. "We have an agreement that as soon as I tell him that, he will retire."
After suffering two setbacks last year, Pacquiao cannot afford to drop another match again, particularly against an up-and-coming fighter like Rios.
The "Pacquiao vs. Rios - Battle in Cotai" showdown is scheduled on Nov. 23 at Venetian Macao in Macau, China.