MANILA – Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios is expecting to fight the best version of Filipino champion Manny Pacquiao on November 24, and not a boxer who is still reeling from a knockout loss.
Pacquiao will go into the Rios bout seeking to end a two-match losing streak, including a stunning sixth round knockout loss at the hands of Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
Rios told Boxing Scene that he is preparing to fight a different version of Pacquiao, however.
“I’m expecting the Pacquiao that was dominating the game. That’s the guy I’m ready for,” said Rios.
At his best, Pacquiao was the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and was a champion in eight different weight divisions.
“I’m not looking at his last fight, when he got knocked out by Marquez. That could happen to anybody. It could happen to me,” Rios said.
“So we cannot go into this saying, ‘Oh, Pacquiao’s done. He’s old overnight,’ and this and that,” he added.
Instead, Rios said he is looking to fight the Pacquiao that was “dominating the game.”
“So I’m getting in the best shape that I can get,” he added. “I’ll be ready mentally and physically for this fight. And if he starts out slow, great. That even gives me more chance to warm up. If he starts out fast, great. That means I’ve got to warm up faster. So we’re good.”
Pacquiao, for his part, has put the loss to Marquez behind him and is focused on preparing for Rios.
“I saw the replay,” Pacquiao answered in a conference call when asked about the knockout. “I saw the replay and it just happened. That’s boxing.”
The Filipino boxer said the long lay-off in between matches has done him good.
“The year off has been good, and I am very excited to get back into the ring and fight, and to do it for the fans,” said Pacquiao. “I feel very fresh, strong and fast.”