Pacquiao will 'take Rios apart' in Macau, says Roach

Coach fears hard-working Filipino star so focused he may reach his peak too early

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 October, 2013, 10:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 October, 2013, 10:40am

Manny Pacquiao is so focused on putting his name back in lights in Macau he has beaten up two sparring partners, forcing coach Freddie Roach to draft in more "punching bags".

Pacquiao, 34, said he was training like a 20-year-old and leaving nothing to chance for his much-anticipated fight against American Brandon Rios in the "Clash in Cotai" next month.

He was training so hard, Roach will slow him down in fear of the "Pacman" peaking too soon.

"I saw signs of Pacquiao that he's getting ready for a competition. Today we did 13 rounds with the mitts and he hit me [accidently] on the lip. He was very fight-focused. I've decided we have to slow him down a bit because we are peaking too soon," Roach said.

"We have a long camp so I'm going to pull him back a bit. We spar eight rounds every other day. I don't want to go there too soon [in fitness]."

The Hall of Fame coach revealed that Pacquiao hurt two sparring partners. "One was wobbling all over the place and the other one got a good shot and couldn't move so I have two new sparring partners coming in.

"It's a big fight for me and Manny. We are in a must-win situation. He's very hungry to get back in the ring. He knows he doesn't want to go there recklessly. We are going to be smart and and take this guy [Rios] apart."

Pacquiao, who turns 35 in December, is desperate to restore his reputation after losing his last two fights - to American Timothy Bradley in June 2012 and Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez last December.

"I have one more month's training to go and I am sure I will be 100 per cent ready for the fight," said the Filipino superstar, who will return to the ring for the first time this year at the Cotai Arena.

"My condition is almost there. I'm pretty sure we are ahead of schedule.

"We started early for this training camp and I really believe I will be in 100 per cent condition. This is one of longest times I have prepared for a fight since 1998 [when he was coming through the professional ranks]," said Pacquiao,

"This time my preparation is more serious and more focused. My mind is like it was 20 when I first fought.

"I remember my first fight in the United States. My condition is very good," said Pacquiao, an 18-year pro.

"I trained early so I can prove I can still fight and put my name back in lights again. I haven't fought for more than 10 months. So far my training has been very good and I'm happy my coach thinks so as well. I want to win this fight and I am going to make sure I am really prepared for it," said the world champion in eight divisions, whose record is 54-5-2 (38 KOs).

Pacquiao said he had recovered from the mental and physical scars of his brutal sixth-round knockout by Marquez.

"I don't think I made a mistake. My condition, my stamina was right there. I had 100 per cent condition and I was aggressive. It just happened he got me in that round, which is part of boxing," said Pacquiao of Marquez's tremendous right hand that knocked him out.

Roach agreed that Pacquiao had overcome the damaging effects of his knockout by Marquez .

"It has happened to me before and I got knocked out and it changed my life. I wasn't as confident and brave after that.

"But with Manny, before we had our very first fight together, he showed me videos of himself getting knocked out early in his career.

"He was showing it to me like it was no big deal. Manny Pacquiao realises that getting knocked out is part of this work. It doesn't bother him to talk about it," said Roach.