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Freddie Roach says Manny Pacquiao will avenge him

Macau: Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach says the boxer will use Sunday’s fight against Brandon Rios to punish members of the Rios camp who mocked Roach’s speech difficulties, which are caused by Parkinson’s disease.

The fallout from Wednesday’s physical confrontation between Roach and the Rios camp continued on Thursday, with Roach saying Pacquiao had watched a video of the heated incident in which Roach was kicked and his speech mocked.

“[Pacquiao] said to me ‘are those the guys that made fun of you?’ and I said yes, and he said ‘that’s all I need to know’ and he walked away,” the US-born Roach told The Associated Press on Thursday.

“He told me he’s going to take care of this guy quickly.”

Roach, 53, was kicked by his former co-worker and Pacquiao cornerman Alex Ariza — now in the Rios camp assisting head trainer Robert Garcia — and while Roach initially called for police to arrest Ariza, he laughed off the seriousness of the confrontation a day later.

“What [Ariza] doesn’t realise is that Manny hits me ten times harder every day. It was like a girl kicking me,” Roach said.

Sunday’s fight will be Pacquiao’s first since getting savagely knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez almost a year ago.

The Filipino, once regarded as pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, is keen to restore his standing in the boxing world after successive defeats against Marquez and a much-criticised judging decision in favour of Tim Bradley.

“He’s hungry after the year off, he’s anxious to get in the ring and he’s anxious to show the world he’s still an elite fighter,” Roach said. “The best way to do that is to knock Brandon Rios out, we both know that, and I have stressed that to him.

“Initially I didn’t think the fight would go six rounds and, after the way he’s worked out, I don’t think it will go four.”

Pacquiao has not stopped an opponent since he fought Miguel Cotto four years ago, but Roach feels Rios’ aggressive style will open the door for a quick finish.

“Rios is a tough guy and tough guys don’t win fights, good boxers win fights,” Roach said. “The more I watch him on tape, the worse he gets. We will box him and the knockout will come with Manny’s hand speed and combinations and Rios not having a good defence. One thing we know is that Rios will fight back and that’s our big advantage because Manny is a beautiful counter-puncher and we’ve been working quite a bit on that in the gym.”

Sunday’s fight in Macao is for the vacant WBO welterweight title.