Timothy Bradley was on a conference call last week with several boxing legends, such as Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, George Foreman and Marco Antonio Barrera. All were discussing Saturday’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios in Macao, China (on HBO pay-per-view).
Like Barrera, Bradley knows Pacquaio more than most in this regard because he fought Pacquiao in June 2012 in Las Vegas. Bradley won a split-decision, though most experts thought Pacquaio was the winner. Either way, Bradley is a student of the game and he believes he knows what Rios – the underdog – needs to focus on to have a chance at victory.
“First of all, he should expect to see Manny Pacquiao being very quick and very elusive and lots of feints in this fight,” Bradley said. “Manny Pacquiao dropped a lot of feints on me and it kept me off-balance as far as shots. He’s very difficult to hit at times, too, because he is always angling out. He’s coming in, he’s coming out, he’s angling out to the right or to the left. That’s what Brandon Rios should expect.”
In other words, Bradley said, Rios should not think that Pacquiao is just going to come straight at him.
“He is going to have to expect a lot of angles in this fight,” Bradley said. “Rios, if he is going to have a chance to beat Pacquiao, he is going to have to close the distance. He is going to have to get close, stay close and punch.”
All that said, Bradley is picking Pacquiao to emerge victorious.
“I’ve got Manny Pacquiao by a mid- to late-round KO,” he said. “Eight rounds.”
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), of the Philippines, is fighting for the first time since being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round last December in Las Vegas. Rios, the former lightweight champion from Oxnard, is 31-1-1 with 23 knockouts.