Rashad Holloway inside of the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas (Photo: Chris Robinson – www.HustleBoss.com)
By Chris Robinson
During a recent visit to the Mayweather Boxing Club, I was caught off guard momentarily when I spotted junior middleweight veteran Rashad Holloway in the building.
Always one to pledge his allegiance to his adopted hometown of Los Angeles, Holloway is in the city helping his friend Shawn Porter prepare for his Dec. 7 title shot against IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander.
Holloway (12-2-2, 5 KO’s) last fought in June of 2011, winning an eight-round decision over Jhon Berrio, and has spent the past few years recovering from a shoulder injury as well as exploring other business endeavors outside of the boxing.
But like many fighters, the itch to give the sport his best continued to nag at Holloway.
“I missed it,” said Holloway, who is slated for a ring return in North Carolina in early December. “I cheated myself out of a lot and I didn’t give boxing my all. I had all the talent in the world to do anything. I could give you a million excuses and that’s not just me.
“Boxing broke my heart a long time ago,” Holloway added. “The business of boxing is different from the sport of boxing. I’m at the point where I don’t need boxing to make a future for myself, financially I’m good; I’m boxing because I really want to box and I owe it to myself.”
Holloway is again working under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, but the Five-time Trainer of the Year is presently overseas in General Santos City, Philippines, putting the final touches on Manny Pacquiao’s training camp ahead of his Nov. 23 date with Brandon Rios.
Having sparred some memorable rounds with Pacquiao inside of Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in L.A., Holloway was able to witness Pacquiao’s rise to superstardom on a first-hand basis.
“It was crazy,” Holloway reflected. “The notoriety. You get a lot of publicity just being around. You get a lot of respect. I got a lot of respect and support from the Filipino community and just other people as a whole. People who really appreciated my talent.
“Manny’s just Manny,” Holloway said respectfully. “Manny’s just a good dude. Good energy to have around.”
Pacquiao now finds himself in a do or die situation with the Rios clash.
Having suffered a brutal knockout loss at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez this past December, the 34-year old Pacquiao finds his career on the line with their HBO pay per view duel.
Still, for Holloway, he can’t help but notice how many advantages lie with his friend.
“I think Brandon Rios is a tough guy,” Holloway claimed of the former lightweight titlist. “I think if Manny can’t get him out of there in four rounds, he’s in for a tough fight. To be honest with you, Brandon Rios is right there to be hit. Manny’s very explosive, punches hard, and I don’t think he’s going to be gun-shy at all. Manny’s going to come out swinging like he always does and I see Brandon Rios getting stopped early.”
With a hard-charging style that sees him often breaking his foes down to the body, Rios has some similar traits as his former stable mate and previous Pacquiao foe Antonio Margarito.
Pacquiao would carve Margarito up on his way towards a punishing unanimous decision victory three years ago and Holloway actually looks at Rios as a softer touch than the lanky Tijuana native.
“I don’t think Rios has the power that Margarito has,” Holloway explained. “He weighs on you after a while; he’s a big guy, but he doesn’t have the chin that Margarito has. Margarito could take a shot and you didn’t see him buckle too much.
“Brandon Rios we ‘ve seen buckle a few times,” Holloway continued. “When he fought Miguel Acosta, he hurt him, he wobbled him. He just got wobbled in his fight with Mike Alvarado twice. These guys can both punch but Manny’s just a big puncher and I don’t see him having a problem.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com