Freddie Roach is predicting an early knockout, Brandon Rios says Roach is scared, and Roach is making it very clear: he doesn't think Rios brings anything to the table on Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao. From FightHype:
"He says, 'I'm not a punching bag.' He said, 'Punching bags don't swing back.' That's the only difference between him and a punching bag is that he swings back. ... Ricky Hatton had better defense than him. I mean, I'm not impressed. I know Brandon Rios' style. I've watched more tapes on that guy than I need to. It's, like, you've got an elite fighter and a guy that's just coming up. I mean, a guy who won the world title at 135 by accident. He lost every round and then got a lucky punch in there, you know? And then he loses the title on the scale."
Roach also used Ruslan Provodnikov's recent beatdown of Mike Alvarado -- who beat Rios earlier this year -- as reasoning for his confidence:
"My guy Ruslan killed that guy and I know what Manny does with Ruslan in the gym. I mean, they work together, but Manny never really tries to hurt him. He actually goes a little bit easy with him and Ruslan's destroying guys."
What Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO) does or doesn't do in the gym during sparring sessions won't matter much on Saturday. We know that much. Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO) is a special breed of brawler who can take punishment and keep coming forward. That's not to say that Roach should be worried, because most agree Rios is made for Manny to shine against, but if Pacquiao really scores a dominant KO win, it would be his first since 2009, when he blasted Hatton and then stopped Miguel Cotto. And keep in mind that Roach has said pretty similar things about every fight since then.