Former world champion Brandon Rios thinks Manny Pacquiao will try to knock out unbeaten American Timothy Bradley in their April 12 rematch given the controversial nature of their first fight.
Bradley infamously defeated Pacquiao via split decision when they first fought in June 2012, even though Pacquiao was considered the winner by nearly all ringside observers as well as boxing fans.
“I thought the first time, Pacquiao won,” Rios told Hustle Boss. “It was controversial.”
“I think Pacquiao, I think he might be more aggressive,” he added. “(He) might go for a knockout this time. Because everybody thought he was going to knock him (Bradley) out the first time. I think it’s going to be probably a knockout.”
If the fight doesn’t end in a knockout, Rios predicts a split decision win in favor of the “Pacman.”
Rios, who lost to Pacquiao via unanimous decision in November 2013, said the Filipino’s speed and awkward offense will be his advantages against Bradley.
“Pacquiao’s one quick (expletive). He’s very fast and everything. It’s just his awkwardness. He throws punches from different angles. And sometimes, that (expletives) with your mind,” he said.
“Once it (expletive) your mind up, you lose your mind and you lose the fight. That’s what happened to me,” he said.
Rios is not the only fighter who thinks Pacquiao will go for a knockout. The Filipino’s sparring partner, American prospect Lydell Rhodes, also believes the Filipino will seek a stoppage win.
“I believe he’s gonna go out for the knockout, but I think it will still be a close fight, a decision,” said Rhodes in an interview with On the Ropes Boxing Radio.
“I believe he’s gonna go out there looking for the knockout, and because he’s really aggressive right now in sparring,” he added.
Rhodes believes that Pacquiao is also looking to impress his fans in the Philippines, who are happier when the “Pacman” wins via stoppage than be decision.
“One thing I’ve noticed out in the Philippines is, they like fighters. They like guys who go out there and fight,” said Rhodes.
“It’s almost like, if he gets a decision, they’ll say, ‘Ah, you did all right, you did okay.’ They’re not really satisfied unless you get the knockout,” he added. “So I think Manny is gonna go out there looking for the knockout.”