Freddie Roach has made a lot of bold, sometimes silly, sometimes flat-out wrong statements over his years as a headline trainer in the boxing world, which has led him into the Hall of Fame and countless headlines, particularly for his work with his greatest success, Manny Pacquiao.
Roach has made another bold statement: there's no way, he says, that Brandon Rios should beat Manny Pacquiao.
"[T]o put it bluntly, there's no way in the world Rios should beat him. None whatsoever. Rios is a banger, for sure, but he'll take his life in his hands if he wants to stand in front of Manny and trade punch for punch."
Roach says that Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO) still has a great work ethic, and again says that if Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO) does score a knockout win over Pacquiao, he'll advise Manny to retire. Freddie, though, is expecting (as always) a return to form for Manny, which may be asking a lot as the now part-time fighter closes in on his 35th birthday in mid-December.
But I think most do believe that if Pacquiao is going to remain considered an elite-level fighter, he not only has to beat Rios, but he has to do so in at least somewhat spectacular fashion. Rios was picked in part because there's nothing elusive or tricky about his game; he makes for a great matchup that promises action, and one that Pacquiao should, on paper, have no trouble handling stylistically. Whether he can hang in with a relentless, younger puncher who has shown an iron chin thus far is more a physical matter, and we'll see where Pacquiao is with that.