MANILA, Philippines – Former world champion Paulie Malignaggi believes Brandon Rios will have a chance of success against Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao if “Bam Bam” can force the “Pacman” into a dog fight.
Malignaggi, who has held titles at both junior welterweight and welterweight while also serving as a commentator on some Showtime matches, spoke with On the Ropes Boxing Radio about the highly anticipated showdown.
“Brandon, I think, will be well served to test Pacquiao early,” said Malignaggi. “(He has to) try to make it a dog fight right away. You never know if there are any lingering doubts from the knockout Pacquiao suffered, you know.”
Pacquiao is coming off a sixth-round knockout loss at the hands of rival Juan Manuel Marquez when they fought in December 2012. Rios is also coming off a loss, having been outpointed by Mike Alvarado in their rematch last March.
“Pacquiao has suffered knockouts before, and has come back pretty good,” Malignaggi observed. “So mentally, if he’s the right way he’s been in the past, then you would expect him to try to impose his own game plan and execute it – unless the age is getting to him.”
In the same way that Rios needs to turn the match into a dog fight, Pacquiao also needs to impose his will and make it his fight, said Malignaggi.
“I think Pacquiao has to set the pace and set the tone, to make it his kind of fight,” he said. “Being in and out the way he wants to be, and setting up those power shots, those speedy combinations.”
“If Brandon can cut off the ring the right way, force Manny into a sort of dog fight – which Brandon absolutely loves to be in – it could be very interesting,” he added.
“Those are really the keys for both guys, and I’m curious to see which one is able to make it their kind of fight.”