- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios have shown a lot of respect for each other throughout the promotion for their fight. Sure, they both predict victories, but they haven't gotten on each other too much.
Their trainers? No so much.
There is no doubt that a fierce competition has brewed between Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer and a five-time trainer of the year, and Robert Garcia, Rios' head cornerman and the reigning trainer of the year.
Both are heavily invested in their fighter winning by knockout on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at CotaiArena at the Venetian Macao in Macau.
Roach has predicted that Pacquiao would stop Rios inside six rounds, but changed his tune the other day. Now he's saying Pacquiao will have an easier time with Rios.
"Manny's last training session was nothing short of amazing," Roach said. "We were supposed to do six rounds on the mitts and I cut it off after four rounds. They were the best four rounds of mitts I have ever done with Manny. He was blazing. He was throwing the heat.
"This was the happiest and most productive camp I have had with Manny in years. I know I predicted that Manny would knock Rios out inside six rounds, but based on our last workout, I don't see how Rios makes it past the fourth round."
Garcia is also talking a big game.
"Twice during the [first] two episodes of '24/7' I've heard Freddie Roach say he will ask Manny Pacquiao to retire if he loses to Brandon Rios," Garcia said. "Well, Freddie had better buy that gold watch for Manny, because the retirement party begins on Saturday night. I guarantee you this will be the last time you ever see Manny Pacquiao on an HBO Pay-Per-View."