MARQUEZ UNIMPRESSED WITH PACQUIAO COMEBACK WIN
The 40-year-old Mexican rival of Pacquiao was left unimpressed. Marquez insinuated in an interview with boxingscene.com’s Salvador Rodriguez that Brandon Rios is a tailor-made for Pacquiao’s comeback fight.

ALSO: Rios: ‘Pacquiao still has it’
Pacquiao not only earned back his old spot after that career-shaking knockout loss to Marquez but also the admiration of his opponent. “He’s very quick. I tip my hat off to Pacquiao. He still has it,” said Rios, who failed to live up to his pre-fight talk that he’ll be a monster in the ring.

ALSO: More speed, less power -Joaquin Henson
Pacquiao was conscious of not fighting Rios’ style. He stood his ground only occasionally as for the most part, he executed a perfect hit-and-run strategy. Rios fumbled and often missed badly as Pacquiao sidestepped, backtracked and spun away from the plodder. Pacquiao wasn’t only quicker, he was smarter.


MARQUEZ UNIMPRESSED WITH PACQUIAO COMEBACK WIN


Referee Kenny Bayless, left, calls the fight as Juan Manuel Marquez, right, celebrates after he knocked out Manny Pacquiao, lower left, in the sixth round of their fight last December in Las Vegas. AP/File Photo

MACAU, DECEMBER 2, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Alder Almo - Everyone was so hyped with Manny Pacquiao’s return to winner’s circle in dominant fashion, except maybe for a couple of names.

One of them is Juan Manuel Marquez, who dealt Pacquiao the biggest loss of his career – via a stunning sixth round knockout last December.

The 40-year-old Mexican rival of Pacquiao was left unimpressed.

Marquez insinuated in an interview with boxingscene.com’s Salvador Rodriguez that Brandon Rios is a tailor-made for Pacquiao’s comeback fight.

"It was important for Manny Pacquiao to look good, so they gave him an opponent like Brandon Rios for his return and he looked impressive. I believe that Bob Arum is doing his job in getting him these types of opponents, but it will be important to see him face tougher competition and see how he looks against those kind of fighters after suffering that knockout," Marquez told boxingscene.com.

The former four-division champion felt that Rios is not in their caliber and did not stand a chance to win against a speedy fighter like Pacquiao.

"He never gave Brandon Rios the opportunity to connect with a solid punch , so we didn't get to see how Manny Pacquiao [would react] after that knockout," said Marquez.

The Mexican, who lost a split decision to another Pacquiao conqueror Timothy Bradley last October, said that the acid test for Pacquiao is to fight someone like him.

"When Manny Pacquiao fights someone with speed and intelligence, someone who counters – Manny does not know what to do or what to expect. Brandon Ríos lacks speed and intelligence inside the ring. He is a fighter who just moves forward and punches. And if you do not bring speed with you, you are going to lose against him,” Marquez added.

While Marquez is goading Pacquiao to fight someone of his caliber, he does not want anything to be part of Pacquiao’s comeback trail in the immediate future.

Instead, he is setting his sights on a possible rematch with Bradley on April 12, the same date that Arum has in mind for Pacquiao’s next fight.

***

(Editor’s note: This special coverage of the Pacquiao-Rios fight here in Macau is made possible by Cebu Pacific Air, why every Juan flies.)

Rios: ‘Pacquiao still has it’ By Alder Almo (philstar.com) | Updated November 27, 2013 - 1:26am 1 0 googleplus0 1


Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, right, lands a right to Brandon Rios of the United States during their WBO international welterweight title fight Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Macau. Pacquiao defeated Rios by unanimous decision on Sunday to take the WBO international welterweight title and return to his accustomed winning ways after successive defeats. AP Photo/ Vincent Yu

MACAU – The Manny Pacquiao of old triumphantly returned to the boxing ring last Sunday, earning back the adulation he once lost after that brutal sixth round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last year.

Fight fans and experts alike are almost one in saying that Pacquiao is back.

After losing his last two fights prior to this, boxing pundits were ready to dismiss the 35-year-old former eight-division champion, saying he is already past his prime.

But Pacquiao found the fountain of youth and sprang back to life with the unanimous decision over a much bigger and younger opponent in Mexican-American Brandion Rios.

Pacquiao not only earned back his old spot after that career-shaking knockout loss to Marquez but also the admiration of his opponent.

“He’s very quick. I tip my hat off to Pacquiao. He still has it,” said Rios, who failed to live up to his pre-fight talk that he’ll be a monster in the ring.

Rios, 27, instead turned out to be a monster that was an easy target to smaller but smarter Pacquiao.

“The awkwardness (of him being a southpaw) and the speed affected me a lot,” added Rios, who never faced a speedy southpaw like Pacquiao in his career.

Even Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia conceded that Pacquiao and his corner schooled them.

“Pacquiao fought great. He came with a great plan,” Garcia admitted.

Garcia is now 0-2 against Pacquiao and Roach. He was also at the corner of Antonio Margarito, who lost in the same style the way Rios did, three years ago.

“I think taking a year off helped him a lot,” said Garcia referring to Pacquiao’s long layoff after the Marquez loss in December last year.

“He recovered well and I’m sure he trained like never before. He had a lot to prove and to show and he did. I’m sure a lot of us have this question: what Pacquiao are we going to see,” Garcia added.

Pacquiao answered that with a virtuoso performance last Sunday.

“I think we have seen the best Pacquiao,” Garcia said.

***

More speed, less power SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 27, 2013 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0

MACAU – It was Manny Pacquiao’s speed, not power, that led to Brandon Rios’ crushing defeat at the Cotai Arena inside the Venetian Resort Hotel here last Sunday morning. A lot of fans were dismayed that Pacquiao failed to knock out Rios and some even wondered if the Filipino icon had lost his touch as a demolition expert.

Pacquiao’s boyhood pal Buboy Fernandez said the emphasis in training camp was speed from the onset. Freddie Roach knew that Rios wouldn’t be able to cope with Pacquiao’s speed particularly as he wasn’t in condition to keep pace. Rios had difficulty with Richard Abril and should’ve lost to the Cuban on points last year. Abril taught Rios a neat boxing lesson but couldn’t convince the judges he deserved to win.

How Abril handled Rios was how Roach planned for Pacquiao to take care of business last Sunday. Pacquiao boxed Rios silly, using movement to slip away from danger zone and creating angles to pop him in an inside-outside attack. It’s no secret that since Pacquiao ventured to the welterweight division and once to the lightmiddleweight class, knockouts have been scarce. Pacquiao used to blow away opponents with his raw power but bigger opponents are harder to fall. More than ever before, Pacquiao now has to rely on his boxing skills to beat opponents who outweigh him.

How Pacquiao will do against Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez or even Floyd Mayweather is anybody’s guess. But if he displays the skills and mobility that dazzled Rios, Pacquiao will be doubly dangerous. He has proved that depending on the opponent, he can adjust his style to do what has to be done to win. His resiliency is a huge advantage.

* * * *

Pacquiao was conscious of not fighting Rios’ style. He stood his ground only occasionally as for the most part, he executed a perfect hit-and-run strategy. Rios fumbled and often missed badly as Pacquiao sidestepped, backtracked and spun away from the plodder. Pacquiao wasn’t only quicker, he was smarter.

Rios will never be the same again. He took a severe beating from Pacquiao and even if he didn’t go down, the performance will surely affected his marketability. Rios was reportedly guaranteed a career-high $3 Million for the fight. He earned every penny. For all his boastful remarks and trash-talking, Rios ate humble pie after the schooling by Pacquiao.

It’s unfortunate that Rios’ idol is the late Johnny Tapia, the devil-may-care fighter who lived “la vida loca” and died of drug abuse last year. Tapia was an undisciplined brawler. Rios won’t last long as a fighter if he doesn’t learn to sacrifice, tune up his body and work punishing hours in the gym.

HBO commentator Jim Lampley said Rios must get his act together. “You wonder if his life could take another wrong turn, particularly when his boxing career comes to an end,” he said. “I can remember the height of Fernando Vargas’ career. The people at Main Events were always sort of nervous about him. You sensed that there was an urgency to put him in big fights as soon as they could get them because you never knew when Fernando would do something to blow it all up. There is the same sort of potential with Rios.”

Garcia is the steadying influence in Rios’ life. The trainer introduced Rios to his wife Victoria Lopez who is nine years older and works as a professional therapist. Rios and his wife have three children. Rios has two from a previous relationship. In all, Rios has five, namely, Laila named after Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Mia named after boxer Mia St. John, Ava, Marco Antonio named after Barrera and Brandon, Jr.

* * * *

Rios said he cried when his manager Cameron Dunkin got him the fight against Pacquiao. After losing to Pacquiao, Rios was probably in tears again. He was outclassed by a superior fighter and exposed as just an ordinary palooka.

In the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post the other day, writer Unus Alladin said the biggest surprise was Rios still standing in the end. Rios proved to be durable and tough as nails. “Pacquiao’s quickness with his deft hands and his famous footwork shone through,” said Alladin. “Rios tried to land that one big knockout punch time (and) again, hitting the Filipino with solid body shots but Pacquiao was too quick and smart.”

Rios is in the situation that Pacquiao once was as the loser of two straight. He faces the challenge of coming back from adversity but may not possess the fortitude, determination, skills and heart to rebound like Pacquiao. Rios, the younger fighter, was supposed to be hungrier than Pacquiao because he has won only one world title compared to the Filipino’s eight in different divisions. But as it turned out, Pacquiao was more motivated to win. He sacrificed a lot to convince doubters that he’s far from finished as a fighter. Pacquiao’s mission isn’t over. He wants to put the country on his back and lead it to better times. Beating Rios was a step in the right direction.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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