Macao could be Pacquiao's last swing in ring

Updated: 2013-05-09 06:03

By Tym Glaser (China Daily)

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Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao's November clash with Brandon Rios in Macao could be his last if he fails to get past the US fighter.

Contacted soon after the Nov 24 date for the fight at the Venetian Macao casino was announced, the Filipino's long-time trainer, Freddie Roach, said it was a case of win or retire for arguably the greatest fighter Asia has produced.

Pulling no punches when contacted by ESPN, Roach said, "If he loses I will tell him to retire.

"If you lose three in a row it's your time. He's up there in age (34). I've got to keep a close eye on him. It's part of my job to protect him. I will do the right thing, I don't want him to be a stepping stone (for other fighters).

"Would I step down if he becomes a stepping stone? I'd have to, yes. I will never go into a fight I don't think we win," said Roach, one of the most respected corner men in the game.

Pacquiao has dropped his past two fights. In June 2012, he lost a somewhat contentious split decision to Timothy Bradley of the US for his WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas.

Then, in December and at the same venue, he was spectacularly knocked out by long-time Mexican foe Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth encounter by a stunning right to the chin with one second remaining in the sixth round.

In both fights, the winner of world titles in eight divisions lacked his renowned doggedness and power.

In November, Pacquiao will meet a younger and maybe hungrier fighter in Rios, who boasts 31 wins from his 33 fights with 23 knockouts. The 27-year-old will also be keen to atone for his sole loss - in his most recent fight - to compatriot Mike Alvarado for the interim WBO light welterweight title.

However, Roach told ESPN he was confident his charge would rise to the occasion.

"Rios likes to exchange (punches), stay in the pocket, but Manny is faster and hits harder. I think Manny will knock him out. I think it will be a great fight, Rios will talk and embarrass himself, but it will be a great fight," he said.

There's also little love lost between Roach and the Rios camp after a video emerged a few years back of the boxer mocking the trainer, who suffers from Parkinson's disease.

"It showed what an ass he is," Roach said. "Revenge will be great. That doesn't stick with me so much as other people that have Parkinson's who are not boxers. It was a childish thing to do, him and his trainer. They're a bunch of (jerks), can't wait to beat them."

(China Daily 05/09/2013 page23)