David Rodela and Manny Pacquiao (Photo: Twitter.com)
By Chris Robinson
During a recent swing through Oxnard, Calif., I was able to catch up with former lightweight prospect David Rodela.
Having recently announced his retirement from boxing, Rodela’s modest 16-9-3 record with seven knockouts isn’t a true testament to his abilities as a fighter or the kind of journey that the sport took him on.
Now serving as the head boxing coach at the Oxnard PAL, Rodela seems happy with life, noting that he has been putting his main focus into working and spending time with his family.
Rodela carved out a respectable name for himself as one of the game’s top sparring partners, from his work with the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, Antonio Margarito, and countless others.
With Pacquiao inching closer towards a Nov. 23 showdown with Brandon Rios, who he faces on HBO pay per view in Macau, China, I asked Rodela for his thoughts on the match.
“I was hanging out with Manny when Manny was at the top of his game, beating everybody,” Rodela reflected of his time with the Filipino star inside of the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles.
“I think it’s a great fight,” Rodela would add. “To me, I see Brandon is a tough, tough opponent, because he’s a guy who has no quit in him. A guy that comes forward and like I said, there’s no quit.”
While some people in the sport point towards Pacquiao’s devastating knockout loss at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth fight this past December as reason enough for why he may return a slightly-damaged fighter, Rodela thinks the opposite.
If anything, when assessing that match, Rodela seems to believe that Pacquiao was fighting with a certain kind of desire that had been missing, especially after bouncing back from a shocking knockdown in the third round.
“I saw the 24/7 of Marquez-Bradley and I caught something interesting that Nacho Beristain said,” Rodela said. “Nacho said ‘When Manny got knocked down for the first time, he awoke the beast.’
“And honestly, he got angry and the fire was going good for Manny from that point on until he got caught,” Rodela continued. “So now, Manny has that drive, something he wants to prove. I think that Brandon bit more than he can chew.”
More than anything, Rodela seems to appreciate the way he has gotten to know Pacquiao outside of the ropes.
In giving some final thoughts, you can tell that he recognizes the eight-division champ as a friend for life.
“He’s a funny character, bro,” Rodela stated. “He takes care of everybody, so I’ve got to give him a lot love. Like I said, I’ll back him up no matter what. He’s a guy that doesn’t forget you. He doesn’t forget about where he came from. If he sees you and you’re walking, he’ll go out of his way to shake your hand. He’s a humble, down to earth dude.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com