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Rios belittles Pacquiao’s ‘catch weight’ wins

Brandon Rios. (AP file photo)

MANILA, Philippines – Some of the biggest wins of Manny Pacquiao’s storied boxing career came at the expense of guys physically bigger than him.

Pacquiao knocked Ricky Hatton out cold in two rounds, battered Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito for 12 rounds, and stopped a heavily favored Oscar De La Hoya after eight one-sided rounds – victories that will cement the Filipino icon’s legacy.

But Brandon Rios, Pacquiao’s upcoming opponent, is hardly impressed.

In an article by Chris Robinson that came out recently on, Rios played down Pacquiao’s wins over bigger opponents, even pointing out some of those fights were held at catch weights.

“If you’re talking about how I’m surprised at Ricky Hatton, if he compares me to Ricky Hatton, I don’t fight like Ricky Hatton,” Rios told Robinson. “I fight better. And Ricky Hatton, how many wars has he been through? When he (Pacquiao) fought Cotto, he fought Cotto at a catch-weight. Catch-weight is not a big thing to me.”

See Related: Infographic: Who is Brandon Rios?

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Pacquiao fought Cotto in 2009 at a catch weight of 145 pounds – two pounds under the welterweight limit – and took on Margarito in 2010 at a contracted weight of 151 pounds, three pounds less than the maximum allowed for super welterweight.

Even De La Hoya was at a handicap at 147 pounds when he and Pacquiao faced off in 2008, as the former hadn’t fought in that weight class since 2001 and had to work hard just to meet the agreed weight.

Rios is thus joining some of Pacquiao’s critics in blasting the Filipino’s previous preference for catch-weight bouts.

“I’d rather fight somebody at their regular weight,” Rios explained. “When he fought all these big guys, he fought them at a catch-weight. They had to lose so much weight to fight [him] and the next day they really didn’t gain that much weight. Look at De La Hoya for instance. And he only gained two pounds the next day? He couldn’t eat; he made him lose so much weight.”

Rios and Pacquiao will face each other in a welterweight fight on November 10 in Macau, and the Mexican-American slugger vowed to come out strong.

“At 140, I felt good. At 147 I’m going to feel even stronger. I’m going to feel strong and I just can’t wait until the fight,” said Rios, relishing the opportunity to share the ring with Pacquiao.

“When he started beating everybody. I started recognizing Manny when he stated jumping up in weight, fighting for eight titles. That’s when I first started noticing Manny Pacquiao. Honestly, I just want to fight him because I want to fight the best. They consider him one of the best and I want to fight the best,” he added.

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