Rios was last in the ring in March, when Mike Alvarado won a unanimous decision to avenge a seventh-round stoppage loss from October of 2012.
PACQUIAO: ‘MANNY IS BACK AND READY TO COMPETE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD’
Similar to your opponent, you enter this fight in unfamilar position. You are coming off back to back losses, not to mention, to a fighter you’ve beaten in Marquez and to another some argue that you beat. How will those experiences prepare you for Rios?
Pacquiao’s response in the blog:
“My two previous fights, though both officially losses, have not had a huge impact on me. Though I accept the judges’ decision, I still do not understand their decision to score the fight against me when I fought Timothy Bradley. I was the aggressor throughout the fight.
You can clearly see that by mid-fight, Bradley stopped engaging with me because he couldn’t keep up with me and take the punishment I was giving him. So he decided to run from me. If there is a lesson to be learned from that fight, I guess, it’s not to take anything for granted.
I thought I won the fight then, and I still think I won that fight. If your opponent doesn’t want to fight, the judges should also take that into consideration. I never felt that I lost that fight. The media and fans never considered that fight a real loss.
“Compare those feeling to the reaction Bradley faced from the same people. He certainly did not get treated like a conquering champion. Those are his words, not mine. As for me, it did not really affect me and I was eager to move forward.
“For my fourth fight against Juan Manuel M├írquez, I was determined to end our rivalry with
finality. In training camp — and it was one of my best camps — I was focused on being able to
dominate M├írquez from the opening bell.
“I trained hard in camp to attack him from all angles, and though he had his moments early in the fight, I knew I was beating him as the fight wore on. I felt the momentum coming my way, and I was hurting him badly. I could see it and feel it.
“But I got careless. When I heard the sound that only 10 seconds remained in round 6, I
could see he was teetering and I thought I could finish him right then or at least land one more
major blow to give him and his trainer one more thing to think about between rounds.
“But I was reckless…careless…in my attack, and M├írquez landed the perfect shot. I watched the replay in my suite that night, and I knew that I made a major error in a fight that I should have won and was winning. But that’s boxing.
“It was an exciting fight and I have not lost any sleep over it or dwelled on it. It’s the nature of the sport, and you have to accept it. I was fully prepared, and had put in my time in training camp. I didn’t cut an corners.
“To prepare for Brandon Rios, I began my training camp four weeks earlier than I normally do
— 12 weeks total. The first six weeks were dedicated to conditioning and the last six weeks
to boxing. It’s not so much what I have learned from the Bradley and M├írquez fights that is
preparing me for my battle with Rios, it’s what I have done in advance of my training camp for
the Rios fight, and that is to rest.
“Taking the longest break of my professional career refreshed me physically and mentally. Though I always enjoy training for a fight, I was more eager than usual for this training camp. I missed boxing. I stayed in shape by playing basketball and volleyball daily and that was refreshing, too, because it gave me a healthy diversion from boxing.
“But now that I am finally back in the gym, I feel like the 25-year-old Manny Pacquiao. Speed, endurance, focus and power are all there. I feel like I’m gliding in the ring. Sometimes, I have to look down to see if my feet are even on the ground. I feel great.
“It has also been the most harmonious training camp I can remember, and that has been a big factor. The biggest lesson I have learned over the past year has not come from my losses to Bradley and M├írquez. It’s come from being out of the ring for nearly one year.
“I have come to appreciate boxing even more. I enjoy it now more than ever. I love it and I can’t wait to return to the ring on Nov. 23 to show everyone that Manny is back and ready to compete with anyone in the sport. It’s going to be an exciting fight, and I look forward to giving the fans a great show.”
RIOS TO “TRAIN FOR THE BEST MANNY PACQUIAO THERE HAS EVER BEEN’
You’ve had tremendous success as a professional. You were undefeated for nearly 10 years. You enter this fight in unfamilar terrirory after falling to Alvarado. Will you prepare for this fight any differently than you always have? If so, how do you prepare so that you don’t completely alter your approach as a fighter to the point that you’ve moved away from what made you a success?
Rios’ response In the blog:
“I’m going to fight the way I always fight. The only difference is I have to train in a
smarter way. I can’t train to fight the way I fought with Alvarado and other fighters I have
fought. I have to train smart, train to fight Manny Pacquiao.
I’m going to train the same way and fight the same way, but in a smarter way, because
I can’t change my style of fighting. I can’t change something that has got me where I am now. The way I fight is the reason I have the wins I have, the reason I have the fans I have, and the reason I’m fighting the biggest fight in my career on Nov. 23 in Macau, China.
Falling to Alvarado in Rios vs. Alvarado II didn’t affect me at all. What affected me was
training to the Alvarado I fought the first time at the Home Depot Center. That’s what
affected me. I trained to fight hard, yes, but to fight the Alvarado I fought before.
When I trained for Alvarado the first time on Oct. 13, 2012, I was confident, and I was ready
100 percent for the fight. When I trained for Alvarado second time, I would say I was over-
confident, because I knew I had hurt him the first fight and I had already beat him.
Therefore, I believed I could do it again. That’s where I messed up, because I didn’t really think he
was going to change his game. I didn’t train for a different Alvarado. I honestly didn’t
think he was going to change his routine.
I trained for the Alvarado I had fought a few months back. That’s where I messed up.
This fight, Pacquaio vs. Rios, it’s going to be different. I am going to train for everything.
I am going to train for everything Manny Pacquiao is going to bring and some.
I’m not going to assume he’s going to come into the fight like the Pacquiao that recently got
knocked out. No, I’m training for the best Manny Pacquiao. I’m training for the elite
fighter he is. I can never underestimate any of my opponents, because at the end of
the day, they want the same thing I want. A win.
Getting that win, I have to assume Pacquaio is going to come in the best shape of his life, because he’s hungry again. Manny Pacquiao wants and needs that win on Nov 23 just like I want that win. So like I said before, I’m going to train for the best Manny Pacquiao there has ever been.
I will train hard like I always do. I will give the fans the exciting fights they love to see, and
I’m sure Pacquiao wants the same thing. I will fight like the Brandon Rios my fans love
to see, but like I said, I will train smarter. I will fight smarter.
The loss to Alvarado earlier this year was a blessing in disguise, because I lost the fight to the cards, a very close fight. On the other hand, I won something else. I won the experience, the experience to never be overconfident again. To always train for all scenarios, and that’s exactly what I am going to do.
Photo / Ryan Songalia
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]