By Terence Dooley
Veteran Manchester-based trainer Bob Shannon warned his fighters and friends about the dangers Manny Pacquiao faced when meeting Tim Bradley at the weekend after taking in the pre-fight footage of Bradley’s determination and desire. Shannon, who currently trains Denton Vassell and Matty Askin, contacted me on Friday to predict a Bradley upset. He believes that, controversy on the cards aside, the American proved Manny is human and also showed that hard work and dedication can produce big victories after watching the fight unfold live on Primetime in the early hours of Sunday morning here in the U.K.
Indeed, the coach has warned fans not to pick against Bradley should a rematch take place, arguing that the American will be buoyed by the win and that Manny could struggle if the new WBO welterweight titlist is similarly inspired in the return.
“I went for Bradley to come on strong down the stretch and nick the fight, but I disagree with the decision and felt that Manny was unlucky to lose,” said Shannon when speaking about the controversy to BoxingScene. “Saying that, Tim put in a really good show and there were a few close rounds where Manny didn’t work – you could have given them to the younger man.
“There will be a rematch and people are expecting Manny to win it, but on the other hand Bradley will be confident, he is always fit and it makes for another tough fight for Manny, who you would expect to get a win if he is at his best. Never underestimate what a fighter can do if he is fit, strong at the weight, determined and sticks to his plan. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are, living the life and keeping fit, plus a bit of good luck, are the keys to putting in performances year in and year out.”
Shannon believes another, albeit smaller, upset is on the cards this weekend in the crossroads fight between former EBU light-middleweight titlist Ryan Rhodes, 46-5 (31), and the undefeated Sergey Rabchenko, 20-0 (15), for the vacant European 154lb title at the Manchester's Velodrome venue on Saturday night.
Although Rhodes, 35, holds experience and pedigree over his 26-year-old opponent, some within the trade have predicted that “The Spice Boy” will fail to capture his old belt and find himself considering his options come the final bell. Shannon, though, feels that Rhodes – who will also have to overcome his own promoter Ricky Hatton due to the fact that Hatton trains Rabchenko – should have too much nous for the Belarusian.
“I’m backing Ryan in this one because it is an old lion on the young lion in there – I think the old lion still has sharp claws and can show a few tricks to the new kid on the block. Ryan’s had some setbacks, he lost in the 12th to Saul Alvarez for the [WBC] world title last year, but stuck with [trainer] Dave Coldwell through thick and thin. Their relationship is a big plus for Ryan because they’ll have worked closely on tactics and all the little tricks they need.
“Ryan’s that bit older and seen as the underdog, but he was the underdog against Jamie Moore in 2009 only to win Jamie's European title after a great performance and some great counter punching. Ricky [Hatton] will have got Sergey into shape, but Ryan’s going to be determined to prove that he still has a lot left in him. It will be tough for Ricky himself because he's going up against a good mate and a fighter who has the respect of the British fight trade.”
He added: “I hate picking against British guys, but will if I have to – in this one I don’t think I have to because I think Ryan’s got a few tricks in him yet. The old lion will teach the new guy a few tricks. Rabchenko can come back from this. Ryan needs that EBU belt to get himself back in the mix before another year goes by.
“It is jubilee year, the Queen has celebrated 60-years at the top – it feels like Ryan’s been around for that long himself, but he still has all the old pros tricks up his sleeves and can do this. Plus England play the night before and can inspire him. They were expected to lose to France, but in Roy Hodgson they have a man of experience who can organise a team and they stopped a strong French side who many have predicted will win the tournament. I think Ryan’s fight will be similar to that game, only he’ll stop Sergey from working his own magic before coming into it late himself to take a win in a similar way to how he did it over Jamie. Everyone in boxing is behind Ryan for this fight, he deserves another crack at the top level.”
Scott Quigg, 24-0 (17), meets domestic rival Rendall Munroe, 24-2 (10) on the packed card. Bury’s undefeated British super bantamweight champion will hope to claim Munroe’s scalp – arguably a bigger prize than the WBA's interim belt, which is on the line for this one – and launch himself into bigger fights.
Shannon was in Andy Morris’s corner when the then-British featherweight champion beat Munroe on points in 2006. The “Boxing Binman” moved down to 122lbs after the loss and went from strength-to-strength. Despite possessing bags of talent and finesse, Morris never quite recaptured this form; he retired in 2010 with a 19-4 (7) slate.
“Scott Quigg has also got a tough job on Saturday night,” said Shannon. “I took Andy Morris into a British featherweight title defence against Rendall. Munroe was a very capable fighter then, he was just in the wrong weight and fighting a very, very talented lad in Andy, who should have gone all the way.
“One of my biggest disappointments in boxing is that myself and Andy parted company. Plus that he lost his last fight [by a seventh-round stoppage to Anthony Crolla] and didn’t become a world title challenger – he was that good in terms of ability. Andy meant the world to me – it was a sad day when he walked away from my Fighting Fit gym as I had a lot of love for him. I’ve watched Munroe a lot since he met Andy, he’s a tough lad with some ability who deserves all the plaudits he has had, but I think Quigg has that little bit of an edge.
“Quigg works with Joe Gallagher over in Bolton. I’ve known Joe a long time and believe me, he will have prepared Quigg well for this because it is Scott’s first really big test of his credentials as Rendall is world-class at the weight – he proved that by going the distance with Toshiaki Nishioka in Japan when he challenged for the WBC title [in 2010]. If Scott has listened in the gym and listens in the corner, he should be able to produce a decision win or even a late stoppage to make a real statement on an excellent night of boxing.”
Still, Shannon was quick to point out that any defensive lapses on Quigg’s part would be punished by Munroe. He said: “One thing he has to be wary of is Munroe’s ability and that aggressive southpaw style because Rendall may look like he is workmanlike, but he can has his moments and has seen it all before, which is a big thing in boxing because experience can be the key to winning a fight.
“If Scott can avoid walking onto a counter then he should be able to give Rendall pressure unlike anything he’s seen before, but Quigg may get hit by a big punch at some point and have to prove himself by getting up off the floor to get this win.”
Sky Sports 2 and HD2 will televise the Hatton Promotions bill from 9pm on Saturday night.
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