MACAU – Everything may have simmered down between the camps of Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios after a morning dust-up, but the seeming animosity between the two group remains very obvious.
After trainer Robert Garcia, it was Rios who’s on the offensive end this time as he took the opportunity to get back at critics on Wednesday night by stressing he’s not going to be a tune-up fight for Pacquiao when the Filipino boxing star returns to the ring four days from now after a long layoff.
“I’m nobody’s tune-up fight. I’m nobody’s sparring partner. I’m nobody’s punching bag,” said the 27-year-old American from Oxnard, California during the official press conference for their 12-round welterweight match on Sunday at the Cotai Arena here inside the Venetian Hotel.
They Said It!
"I’m nobody’s tune-up fight. I’m nobody’s sparring partner. I’m nobody’s punching bag." - Brandon Rios
Rios (31-1, 22 KOs) refused to get caught in the tussle involving Garcia, strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, and Freddie Roach that marred the morning training of both fighters on Wednesday, stressing the incident hardly bothered him as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career.
But he failed to hide his sentiment over the seeming lack of respect given him as an elite fighter.
“This is the best training camp of my life. I’m a monster when it comes to the ring,” he said.
And in obvious response to Roach’s statement at the podium about Pacquiao not expecting to have a problem on Sunday, Rios insisted he’s going to be a problem for the Filipino pride.
“Sunday is going to be a problem. They thought I am no problem,” he insists.
Seeing action in his 15th pay-per-view fight, Pacquiao is not about to let himself get involved in the word war between his camp and Rios, saying there should be nothing personal about this fight.
“Let everybody finish this in the ring. No trash talk before the fight. It’s not a good example to all people who are admiring boxing,” said the 34-year-old former eight-time world champion.
Later on, he dedicated the fight to countrymen ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda.
“To all people and families who were victims of the typhoon, this fight is for you,” said the Pacman.
Garcia said he personally admires Pacquiao for the career he had, but at the same time, he questioned several members of the media who he claimed failed to report exactly what happened during the incident with the 53-year-old Roach.
“I don’t see why not enough of them are bringing up what exactly happened, making our team look bad,” said last year’s Trainer of the Year.