Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, says his fighter will use Sunday’s fight against Brandon Rios to get revenge on members of Rios’ camp for mocking Roach’s speech. Roach has Parkinson’s disease and his speech is affected as a result.
On Wednesday the two camps got into a physical confrontation where former Pacquiao trainer Alex Ariza (who now works for Rios) kicked Roach in the stomach. On Thursday, the 34-year-old Pacquiao watched video of the incident and was not pleased with what he saw. He told Roach not to worry.
Roach had the following to say about what Pacquiao told him:
(Pacquiao) said to me, ‘Are those the guys that made fun of you?’ and I said yes, and he said, ‘That’s all I need to know,’ and he walked away. He told me he’s going to take care of this guy quickly.
Ariza and Roach had a contentious relationship when they both worked with Pacquiao, at times disagreeing about how best to train the Filipino superstar. In fact, Ariza had problems with most of Pacquiao’s camp, as even cutman Miguel Diaz refused to work with him.
Roach hired Ariza in 2008 to be Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach and fired him in August of this year as preparations for the Rios fight began.
The relationship between Roach and Ariza clearly hasn’t gotten any better since the firing, as Wednesday’s confrontation showed.
Roach had the following to say about Ariza kicking him:
What (Ariza) doesn’t realize is that Manny hits me 10 time harder every day. It was like a girl kicking me.
Pacquiao is coming off of two consecutive losses for the first time in his career. The first was a joke of a split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley that virtually the entire boxing world decried as a robbery. The second was a knockout loss to long-time rival Juan Manuel Marquez nearly a year ago.
Roach said Pacquiao is ready to take some aggression out on Rios:
He’s hungry after the year off, he’s anxious to get in the ring and he’s anxious to show the world he’s still an elite fighter. The best way to do that is to knock Brandon Rios out, we both know that, and I have stressed that to him.
Initially I didn’t think the fight would go six rounds, and after the way he’s worked out, I don’t think it will go four.
Roach also said he thinks Rios’ aggressive style will ultimately make it easier for Pacquiao to finish the 27-year-old Texan, who holds a stellar career record of 31-1-1.
Rios is a tough guy, and tough guys don’t win fights. Good boxers win fights. The more I watch him on tape, the worse he gets.
We will box him, and the knockout will come with Manny’s hand speed and combinations and Rios not having a good defense. One thing we know is that Rios will fight back, and that’s our big advantage because Manny in a beautiful counter-puncher and we’ve been working on that quite a bit in the ring.
The fight will take place Sunday afternoon in Macau, but will air Saturday night in the United States, with the undercards starting at 7 p.m. ET. It should be an entertaining, action-packed fight for as long as it lasts.