Bradley previews Pacquiao-Rios
November, 21, 2013
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
If there is anyone who knows what to expect from Manny Pacquiao, it’s welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr.
In June 2012, junior welterweight titlist Bradley moved up to the welterweight division to challenge Pacquiao for his belt and came away with a split decision, one of the most controversial in boxing history.
But regardless of the outrage over the decision, Bradley knows what it’s like to go 12 rounds with Pacquiao and he learned a lot about his style when they met.
So with Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) getting back into the ring after nearly a year off (and coming off a brutal knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez in December) to face Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 22 KOs) in a scheduled 12-round welterweight fight on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at CotaiArena at the Venetian Macao in Macau, Bradley offered his view on what Rios should expect to see.
“First of all, he should expect to see Manny Pacquiao being very quick and very elusive and lots of feints in this fight,” said Bradley, who outpointed Marquez in defense of his title on Oct. 12 and could wind up in a rematch with Pacquiao if he wins Saturday.
“Manny Pacquiao dropped a lot of feints on me and it kept me off balance. He is very difficult to hit at times, too, because he is always angling out. He’s coming in, he’s out, he’s angling out to the right or to the left. That’s what Brandon Rios should expect. He shouldn’t expect Pacquiao to come right at him.
“He is going to have to expect a lot of angles in this fight. Rios, if he is going to have a chance to beat Pacquiao, he is going to have to close the distance. He is going to have to get close, stay close and punch. Pacquiao has a tendency to stay on the ropes with his hands high and stay in position to allow opponents to punch him at times, and that will work in Rios’ favor.
“Rios likes to bring the pressure and throw uppercuts and body shots and I think that’s how he’s going to be effective in this fight. If he’s out too far, he’s doomed. If he can close the distance, he’ll be OK. And expect Pacquiao to come right back too. [Rios] has to have really good defense after he punches. And if he does that, he’ll be successful. But if he allows Pacquiao to move on him and find angles, Manny has power in both hands. He can hurt you. I know Rios can take a punch but this is not Mike Alvarado. He is facing Manny Pacquiao, who has speed and power.”
Bradley emphasized that Pacquiao’s feints could be a huge problem for Rios and that when he fought Pacquiao, all of the feints tired him out.
“I came into the Pacquiao fight in the best shape of my life. I trained extremely hard for that fight. I remember it being around the fourth round -- I was exhausted. After four rounds,” Bradley said. “I am in the best shape of my life and I am exhausted. Pacquiao drops so many feints on you and he keeps you so tense. He hits hard with both hands [so] you always have to be alert and it drains you as a fighter.
“With that being said, I hope that Rios is ready for that because Pacquiao will make it seem like he’s coming in and he’s not.”