By Chris Robinson
Well-versed in several aspects of the sport, trainer Abel Sanchez is a good source to turn to when you are looking for some boxing feedback.
Tucked away in Big Bear Mountain in Southern California for most of the year, Sanchez’s Summit Gym plays host to a bevy of world-class fighters from across the globe, including WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin.
Asked for his take on boxing’s most recent big event, Sanchez seemed to feel that Manny Pacquiao’s unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios this past Saturday night in Macau, China went according to the script.
“My thought was, like I said from the beginning, that Rios was not on the level of Manny,” Sanchez stated. “Manny’s just [has] too many skills and too many big fights for Brandon to be able to deal with him.”
Having endeared himself to fans because of the savage nature in which he has finished several of his opponents on the world class stage, Pacquiao was more disciplined against Rios, as he elected to use his superior skillset to his advantage.
The changes in Pacquiao’s approach didn’t go unnoticed by Sanchez.
“I thought that Manny boxed a little more than I expected,” Sanchez revealed. “I thought that he moved well; I’m not going to say the Manny of old, but for this opponent he looked quite well and was fast and sharp and gave him a lot of angles and Brandon was lost.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had expressed interest in pitting Pacquiao against his former sparring partner Ruslan Provodnikov, who himself is coming off of an electrifying stoppage over Mike Alvarado last month.
The rugged Russian is blossoming into a destructive force and Sanchez doesn’t see him as an ideal opponent for Pacquiao just yet.
“I don’t think Ruslan Provodnikov would be a good fight for him,” Sanchez stated. “He’s too durable and relentless and he’s going to be a little more active, cut the ring off on Manny [better] than Rios did.
“I think he needs another one just like the Rios fight to get his confidence back, to be the Manny of old,” Sanchez added. “I think the year off was good for him because he recharged his body and he looked fantastic on his legs; was able to do all of the things he used to do without compromising any of his defense or any of his old ways. I think in another fight he will even recoup more of that year lost.”