By Matt Fisk: Showtime analyst and former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi thinks that Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO’s) pretty much has only one chance of beating the much faster Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO’s) this Saturday night and that’s by going after him early and trying to turn the fight into an all out war. Pacquiao is coming off of a knockout loss, an 11 month layoff, and he’s not really looked like his old self in quite a few years. Rios must force Pacquiao to go trade in a brawl early for him to have a chance, says Malignaggi.
Rios is young enough to fight at a fast pace for a long period of time before fatigue sets in. He’s not had any long layoffs that could potentially hurt his stamina the way that Pacquiao is, so he needs to take advantage of Pacquiao’s 11 month time off from the ring and force him to fight at a fast pace to see if he can both wear him down and possibly score a one-punch knockout the same way that Juan Manuel Marquez was able to do against Pacquiao last year in December.
“Brandon I think will be well served to test Pacquiao early, try to make it a dog fight right away,” Rios told On the Ropes Boxing Radio. “You never know if there’s any lingering doubts from the knockout Pacquiao suffered you know…unless the age is getting to him. Brandon can cut off the ring. If Brandon can cut off the ring the right way, force Manny into a sort of a dog fight, which Brandon absolutely loves to be in, it could be very interesting.”
It’s a point well stated about Pacquiao possibly getting older in the ring, and in that case it may not matter whether or not he’s still mentally over his knockout loss or not. If Pacquiao looks and fights old on Saturday night, then Rios will be able to do what he wants to do and give him major problems. Rios will likely be able to take Pacquiao’s power punches, but we don’t know if Pacquiao will be able to handle his own big shots.
We don’t know whether Pacquiao will be able to handle a fast-paced fight that is a toe-to-toe battle in the first six rounds, which is what Rios wants the fight to look like. He wants to get on Pacquiao early and force him to fight hard to see if he can wear him down the same way Tim Bradley did last year in his win over him.