MACAU — Robert Garcia, the trainer of Brandon Rios, said Friday that Manny Pacquiao is showing signs of coming to the end of his career and is vulnerable in the WBO welterweight title fight.
Pacquiao is coming off two losses and has not fought since his devastating knockout defeat at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez almost a year ago. Garcia said he’s noticed subtle signs of decline in the Filipino boxer, once considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“Everybody’s end comes someday and it could be this fight,” Garcia said. “He does have a lot to lose in this fight, and that’s pressure not only for him but his trainer and everybody in his camp.”
“There are things I’ve seen in his last two fights that maybe a lot of people who haven’t fought don’t see. I went through those things and I already see them … A lot of fighters go through the same things, they don’t even tell their wives, but I can see it in him.”
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach bristled when told of Garcia’s comments.
“When does he watch my guy? Does he see my guy train every day, does he see the sacrifices my guy goes through, does he see the roadwork we do every day?” Roach asked.
“If Manny shows any sign of slippage in training camp I’d be the first to tell him it’s time to quit, and it’s not time yet for sure. I hope they are overconfident because Manny is going to destroy this guy.”
Pacquiao’s contentious points loss to Timothy Bradley, followed by his frightening knockout against Marquez had raised questions about whether he could ever get back to his top form, with Garcia among the doubters.
“The Manny of three, four years before should have beaten Bradley,” Garcia said. “Marquez is 40 years old and Pacquiao was supposed to beat him, to knock him out. Pacquiao got tired and he got knocked out, it wouldn’t have happened three or four years ago. He hasn’t dropped anybody since 2009.”
Roach acknowledged Pacquiao’s recent failure to knock out opponents — dating back to his victory over Miguel Cotto in 2009 — but said the Filipino fighter was eager to do so as way of announcing his return to the peak of the sport.
“He could have knocked out a couple of guys since then, but his compassion got in his way,” Roach said. “Coming off two losses, he knows he has to be impressive, and being impressive is not winning by close decision, being impressive is winning by knockout.
“I don’t feel Rios can go the distance with a guy with the talents of Manny Pacquiao. It’s a world-class fighter going in against a guy who is a journeyman at best.”