By Chris Robinson
Throughout his eight-year career, former lightweight champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios has displayed intangibles that have helped to make him one of the hottest names in the sport of boxing.
A rock-solid chin, debilitating body attack, and relentless pressure have typified Rios’ style inside of the ring, and also played a big role in why he was able to land the biggest fight of his career despite coming off of his first professional defeat.
Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO’s) was bested over twelve rounds on March 30th, inside of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, in a rematch with Denver’s Mike Alvarado, who he had stopped in seven exhilarating rounds just five months prior.
Despite the setback, Rios gave a solid account of himself and never stopped pressing the issue.
After some down time where he soaked in the disappointment of that night, Rios’ spirits are now revived as he is lined up for a November 24th clash with eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao vs. Rios will take place from the Venetian Resort, in Macau, China and will be televised by HBO pay per view.
Speaking with Rios on Tuesday evening, he expressed elation over his big shot.
“I’m very excited,” stated the 27-year old Rios. “I’ve been waiting my time patiently and I guess it took a loss to get this opportunity, but I wanted to fight the best out there in the world. I’m very excited and I just can’t wait to prove what I can do.”
A dynamic, hard-hitting southpaw who has carved up several high-profile opponents, Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO’s) is regarded as one of this generation’s finest boxers and Rios admits that he is unsure of what type of game plan to bring against him.
“I’m not going to go that far yet, because we haven’t really been studying yet,” stated Rios, who trains under the tutelage of former world champion Robert Garcia in Oxnard, Calif. “But, I’m ready. I’m always ready. I’m young and I’m just ready to bang it out. I can fight on the inside very well. I’m ready. We just have to do a few changes and I’m ready.”
While Pacquiao will be the betting favorite heading in, there are still several questions marks hovering around the Filipino star.
This past December, Pacquiao was knocked out brutally by Juan Manuel Marquez in a wild firefight that saw each man taste the canvas. Pacquiao had Marquez bloodied and seemingly weary, but in the closing seconds of the sixth round he ate a picture-perfect right hand that sent him crashing face-first to the canvas, where he failed to beat the count.
Rios was inside of the MGM Grand for Pacquiao’s loss and was asked to give his personal take of the action.
“Manny Pacquiao fought the best counterpuncher in the business and they fought three times before that,” stated Rios. “Marquez knew what would do [well] against him. Marquez knew him very well and studied him and he knew that right hand would get him. That’s what happened. He just countered and got him with the right hand.”
Don’t expect any overconfidence to be coming from Rios, however, as he insists that Pacquiao will know how to regroup accordingly for their battle.
“Honestly, no, because he’s a veteran,” Rios claimed. “He knows what to do. He’s been in this position before. Like I said, he just got caught by a great counter-puncher, and you know, you can’t just go off of one judgment of him getting knocked out and that he’s not the same no more. A lot of fighters get dropped or knocked out and they come back and they look better with the better performance.
“Maybe Manny Pacquiao needed time off and look, it might do him good,” Rios added. “I know I’ll be ready 100% and I’m just very glad and thanks to him and his people for selecting me as an opponent.”