BOXING: Brandon Rios fight is 'make or break' for Manny Pacquiao
Freddie Roach will have just one word for Manny Pacquiao should Brandon Rios inflict a third-straight defeat on the Filipino fury: retire.
Pacquiao is on the comeback trail after a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley was followed by a vicious knockout against Juan Manuel Marquez.
The Rios bout will take place in Macau and the ‘Pacman’ camp are confident it will propel the 34-year-old back up the rankings. However, with over 20 years experience under his belt, Pacquiao’s revered trainer Roach knows as well as anyone it takes only one punch to end a fight. And if Rios catches his star pupil on November 23, in this case, it could end a career.
“If he loses, I will tell him to retire,” Roach said of the eight-division world champion. “If you lose three in a row it’s your time. He’s up there in age. I’ve got to keep a close eye on him. It’s part of my job to protect him.”
In a sport renowned for unhappy endings, another loss for Pacquiao would mark one of the more remarkable declines. A little over a year ago he was vying with Floyd Mayweather as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, with a potential clash between the two tipped to smash more box-office records than Pacquiao has jaws.
But the Filipino congressman has now slipped so far down the pecking order that his name is barely mentioned as one of Mayweather’s future opponents. And only an explosive victory against Rios, a former lightweight champion, will get him back in the conversation.