by Ronnie Nathanielsz
An elated Freddie Roach says he wants a message delivered to Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, who had earlier claimed he would go for the kill and send “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao into retirement when they clash for the WBO Intercontinental welterweight title at the Corai Arena of the Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino in Macau on November 24.
Roach said “tell Rios we are going after him and we'll knock him out.”
The celebrated Hall-of-Fame trainer was exuberant after Pacquiao went 14 scintillating rounds on the punch-mitts as part of his regular routine on non-sparring days.
Roach told us that Pacquiao sparred 12 rounds with rugged Filipino welterweight Dan Nazareno and British light middleweight Liam Vaughan last Saturday and looked great, even as he indicated everything was coming on really well.
In a reaction to concerns that Pacquiao’s sparring partners lack the experience and the quality of some his sparring partners in the past who included Ruslan Provodnikov, Raymund Beltran, Glenn Tapia and other talented fighters - Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told us - “I don’t think that’s important.”
His sentiments which are shared by many is that sparring partners “are only important to get your timing, that’s all.”