Is Manny Pacquiao Looking Past Brandon Rios?

It’s normal for any competitor to be confident heading into a performance. For a professional boxer, it’s essential.

But that confidence must always be tempered by a healthy dose of caution and respect, something Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach don’t seem to be giving upcoming opponent Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios.

“Manny will be doing me a big favor by knocking this guy (Rios) out,” Roach said, via The Inquirer.

Sure, that would be a great favor. But is it smart to be looking past Rios? Because apparently, that’s what Team Pacquiao is doing. According to the Manila Bulletin, Manny Pacquiao is asking Top Rank promoter Bob Arum to reserve a spot on his dance card for April, 2014.

So, Manny Pacquiao is expecting a win. He had better do so convincingly, says Lyle Fitzsimmons of Bleacher Report.

“Assuming Pacquiao wins and looks good doing so in November’s comeback fight against Brandon Rios—and if he doesn’t, let’s face it, he’s irrelevant on the big stage—a rematch between he and Bradley is simply the fight that makes the most sense for both guys.”

But, in a piece entitled “Manny Pacquiao, Freddie Roach Get Delusional About Brandon Rios Fight” for Opposing Views, writer Alex Groberman tells Team Pacquiao to check the egos at the door.

“Pacquiao hasn’t recorded a knockout in three years. Rios hasn’t been knocked out in his professional career. Common sense tells us that while Pacquiao can and probably will win this bout, but that it most likely won’t be by knockout,” Groberman writes.

“Let’s be clear: Pacquiao-Rios can end in a knockout, but only if Pacquiao is on the receiving end of it.”

Pacquiao was on the receiving end of a KO in his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, who Timothy Bradley just beat. Should Bradley be taking a step back in line to face Pacquiao or a step forward as Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s next opponent?

Arum said that Pacquiao’s April fight may take place in the U.S. or overseas, seemingly at odds with his prior statement that Manny may never fight in the U.S. again for tax purposes.

Is Manny Pacquiao looking past Brandon Rios? Who should fight Pacquiao after his November bout with Rios? Can Manny Pacquiao KO Rios?