Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez facing off last December in Las Vegas (Photo: Chris Farina – Top Rank)
By Chris Robinson
As we head into the final stretch of fights in 2013, the last pay per view event to close out the year will be Manny Pacquiao’s return against all-action Brandon Rios, who he is set to meet on Nov. 23 in Macau, China in an HBO pay per view clash.
For some, the biggest intrigue heading into the match is what version of Pacquiao we are going to see.
This past December, the Filipino star was knocked out in brutal fashion, as he was left lying unconscious after taking a counter right hand from Juan Manuel Marquez in the sixth round of their fourth encounter.
Nearing 35 years old and coming off of such a devastating loss, it’s understandable why Pacquiao may have some doubters these days.
When asked about the matchup with Rios, veteran trainer Miguel Diaz, who has worked Pacquiao’s corner as a cut man for the past nine fights, seems to feel his charge will bounce back impressively next month.
“I think the experience and the mobility of Pacquiao will prevail in the fight,” Diaz told me recently. “Rios is a very, very brave kid but he’s always in front of you. Pacquiao is going to keep moving side to side, [he’s] going to throw combinations, and move around.
“Eventually I see a decision for Pacquiao or maybe late stoppage,” Diaz added.
As for any lingering effects that may stem from the Marquez loss, Diaz revealed why there is no need for concern.
“Don’t mean nothing,” Diaz stated brazenly. “The fights that hurt the fighters are the ones where [for] twelve rounds they get hit, punch after punch after punch. Especially with Pacquiao. Pacquiao is a brave guy, a guy that was in the streets of the Philippines. One knockout won’t make him quit the game.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com