No KO? ‘Pacquiao’s compassion got in the way’ – Roach

Natashya Gutierrez
Manny Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach says he believes Pacquiao could have 'finished [Brandon] Rios' but Pacquiao did not want to hurt him

COMPASSION. Manny Pacquiao looks down on a crouched Brandon Rios in the latter rounds of the fight. Photo by Team Pacquiao / Mike Young

MACAU – Could Manny Pacquiao have stopped Brandon Rios?

His trainer Freddie Roach thinks so. After a dominant performance over the 27-year-old Mexican-American, Roach said Pacquiao took it easy on Rios in the 12th round and that Pacquiao’s “compassion got in the way a little bit.”

“Manny did take it easy in the last round and I feel that he didn’t step on the gas pedal. I think he could’ve finished Rios but he told me there’s no sense in beating him up anymore, he beat him in every round. He said there was no sense in trying to hurt the guy,” Roach told reporters at the post-fight press conference on Sunday, November 24.

Pacquiao defeated Rios by unanimous decision, although he was predicted by many to deliver a knock out. The Filipino himself knew he needed to win convincingly to prove to critics he can still be counted among the sport’s elite, after two consecutive losses in 2012.

Pacquiao too admitted he could have gone harder in the final 3 minutes but deliberately did not.

“On that last round, I knew it was the last round. I didn’t want to be careless so I backed off a little bit and gave him the chance to finish,” Pacquiao said.

“I [did not do] that because I’m tired or anything, I [did] that because boxing is not about kiling each other, it’s about entertaining people. I think 1-12 rounds people are satisfied with my performance so why would I try to be careless like what happened in the last fight with [Juan Manuel] Marquez?”

Pacquiao’s last loss was in the hands of Marquez — via 6th round knockout — after Pacquiao carelessly opened himself up with just one second left int he round.

But Pacquiao argued it was the decision of the corner for him to take it easy.

CORNER DECISION. Pacquiao says it was the decision of the corner for him to take it easy in the 12th. Photo by Team Pacquiao / Mike Young

“They said, ‘Careful, this is your last round, you’ve already won all the rounds, you don’t need to be aggressive, and become careless. So that’s what I did. I followed the instruction of my coach,” he said.

Tough Rios

Both trainer and fighter agreed however, that Rios was a tough opponent to drop. Both praised his iron chin and his ability to take Pacquiao’s punches.

“He took the beating like a man,” Roach conceded.

“Rios is a very tough, tough guy. I’m not sure how he stood up the whole time.”

Pacquiao too admitted Rios’ durability made the fight challenging.

“The hardest part of winning tonight is my opponent is very tough,” he said. “He can catch a lot of punches.”

Rios, who finished the fight with a bloody and bruised face, insisted however that he was not hurt by Pacquiao.

“I feel great,” he said. –

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