Shawn Porter working with Manny Pacquiao a few years back (Photo: Pete Susens – Top Rank)
By Chris Robinson
As he heads into his Nov. 23 showdown with Brandon Rios, Manny Pacquiao has his share of doubters.
After all, it was this past December when the Filipino icon was knocked out cold by a counter right hand from his rival Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth encounter.
That loss has added a certain kind of intrigue to the Rios clash and one of Pacquiao’s former sparring partners, welterweight contender Shawn Porter, recently shared his thoughts on the big fight.
“I think a lot of people may be questioning his abilities now,” Porter stated recently. “Aside from everything he’s got going on in the Philippines and his last experience, I think he’s going to be able to bring the Manny Pacquiao that we’ve seen in the past to this fight with Brandon Rios.”
Having served as a key sparring partner for Pacquiao for two of his training camps, Porter smiled when reflecting back a little over four years.
“The first time I ever met [Pacquiao] was in the Philippines,” Porter revealed. “I had never met him, never talked to him or anything. Freddie just goes ‘Shawn, come here’ and Manny comes over and he goes ‘You’re going to be sparring with this guy’ and he just looked at me and he’s like ‘Alright buddy’ and from there we just went right into it.”
That particular camp was in advance of Pacquiao’s November 2009 duel with Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto, as the two men first worked together in Baguio City before shifting camp over to the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles.
“Listen, anybody that was at those sessions, they clapped after every session,” Porter claimed. “I’m no pushover. I didn’t have much experience as a pro before I got in the ring with him, but by the end of the first camp, everybody knew who I was.”
Having gotten to known Pacquiao in such a personal fashion, Porter knows all too well the advantages that he believes he will carry into the ring against Rios.
“Honestly, it could be the fact that he aint going to take as many punches as Brandon Rios,” Porter noted. “We know Brandon’s going to take a lot of shots and we’ve seen him take some hard shots. I’d like to see what he’s going to do against Manny; if he’s going to be able to take those shots and keep coming or what he’s going to do.”
As we spoke, with the dialogue taking place from the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas following another hard workout, Porter also shared why his time with Pacquiao will surely help him for his forthcoming challenge of IBF champion Devon Alexander on Dec. 7.
“People wonder how I’m going to handle a southpaw fighter,” said Porter. “I’ve gone a hundred rounds with Manny Pacquiao in two different camps. A lot of great experiences with him and there’s a lot that I learned two, three years ago that I’m going to take into this fight with me.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com