Manny Pacquiao punches on Brandon Rios during their WBO International 12-round welterweight boxing title fight at the Venetian hotel in Macau. Photo by Tyrone Siu, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – Hall-of-Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach was more than happy with Manny Pacquiao’s performance against Brandon Rios in Macau, saying his prized ward fought a “perfect” fight.
Having lost his past two matches, Pacquiao faced doubts about his future in the lead up to his bout against Rios on Sunday. But the “Pacman” answered those questions with a dominant performance that saw him overwhelm Rios en route to a unanimous decision victory.
“All I can say is, many Manny punches,” said Roach. “He fought the perfect fight.”
Rios, who is known for his all-action style, kept his guard up for most of the 12-round encounter but could not block out the sheer volume of punches thrown by Pacquiao. His offense was also negated by the Filipino’s speed, as Pacquiao repeatedly slipped and evaded Rios’ punches.
Perhaps the only disappointment was that Pacquiao failed to win by knockout, although the Filipino explained that he was only being careful after having been knocked out by rival Juan Manuel Marquez in his previous fight.
“I’m very careful. I learned in the last fight, you know. If the knockout comes, it will come. But I’m very careful in throwing punches and counter-punches. That’s what I did in this fight,” Pacquiao said after the bout.
Roach believes, however, that it was Pacquiao’s compassion that got in the way of a stoppage victory.
“He let him (Rios) off the hook,” said Roach. “I wanted him to knock him out, but I was very happy with his performance.”
Rios, meanwhile, noted that Pacquiao followed his game plan to the letter.
“I got beaten by one of the best fighters in the world. He came with a game plan and he executed it. He’s very fast, and he throws punches from a lot of different angles,” Rios said. “He’s hard to fight against.”
Pacquiao improved his record to 55 wins, five losses and two draws, snapping a two-fight losing streak that began when he was out-pointed by Timothy Bradley in June 2012.
It was his first victory since November 2011, when he beat Marquez in their third fight.
Rios, fighting at welterweight for the first time, dropped his second consecutive bout. His record now stands at 31-2-1.