by Nick Giongco
MACAU — Freddie Roach wants only one thing on Sunday: a knockout.
“He knows he has to be impressive. And by that it means not winning by a close decision but by a knockout. He knows he has to be impressive after losing back-to-back fights,” said Roach on Friday.
Roach is yearning for an abbreviated win since Pacquiao hasn’t scored one in exactly four years with the last coming against Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico.
But that fight almost went the distance as Cotto went as far as the 12th round before the referee stepped in amid a barrage of blows.
Since then, Pacquiao has struggled to post a stoppage, going 12 full rounds with Joshua Clottey of Ghana, Antonio Margarito of Mexico, Shane Mosley of the US, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico and Tim Bradley of the US before being dealt a sixth-round knockout defeat by Marquez in their fourth fight nearly a year ago.
Roach is confident the drought will end when Pacquiao takes on American brawler Brandon Rios on Sunday.
“He’s a journeyman at best,” said Roach in describing Rios, who is attempting not only to hand Pacquiao his third straight loss but send the Filipino icon into retirement as well.
But Roach doesn’t think it will happen, stressing that Rios is not in the same league as Pacquiao.
While Rios used to be a world champion at lightweight (135 lbs), his resume is not littered with marquee names like that of Pacquiao, whose victims include Cotto, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar Dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and Marquez (second and third fights).
Pacquiao is in a stage in his career where another defeat or
even a non-KO win over Rios will
hurt his bid to rebuild his image.
“Manny needs a knockout to
prove he is still an elite fi ghter,”
And what if Pacquiao fails to
live up to his lofty expectations?
“I will be disappointed if he
doesn’t win by knockout,” said