By Chris Robinson
The training camp of Brandon Rios is nearing full swing down in Oxnard, Calif., as the former lightweight titlist continues to push his body to the limit on a daily basis ahead of his Nov. 23 date with Manny Pacquiao.
On Wednesday afternoon, Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO’s) could be found sparring a total of ten rounds with prospects Karim “KC” Martinez and Rashad Hughes inside of his trainer Robert Garcia’s personal gym.
The action was brisk and physical, as Rios continues honing his skills ahead of what many consider to be an uphill battle against one of this generation’s finest pugilists.
More than anything, Rios seems to appreciate how he is progressing at this stage of camp.
“It was very good,” stated the bombastic 27-year old of his work. “I felt very good today. I felt more loose. I felt better than I did the last couple of sparrings. Today I felt really good.”
Asked what in particular he may be looking to refine while in the trenches, Rios was straightforward when admitting that the look of a southpaw is something new to him.
“I’m trying to get used to fighting a lefty,” Rios said bluntly. “I’ve never been used to sparring a lefty, but I think I’m getting used to it more and more. I think by the end of the camp I’ll be really, really good on sparring lefties.”
With his non-stop movement and sharp and powerful punches that come from a variety of angles, Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO’s) isn’t considered your average southpaw, however.
That fact is something that Rios doesn’t seem too concerned with.
“That’s ok,” Rios replied. “He probably is, but I don’t give a f***. And I’m different than the average fighter that they give me credit for. I do move my head, I do come in and I’m very aggressive but I’m smart and I don’t get hit a lot. It’s alright.”
Heading into the fight, as has been the case with some of his prior assignments, Rios has taken aim at his doubters who portray him to be simply a come-forward brawler with little else in his arsenal.
There is a definite chip on Rios’ shoulder and he seems to be thriving at the chance to prove people wrong.
“Those are the critics that are always going to talk sh*t, saying that I’m a tune up fight for Pacquiao or to get him back in the rankings,” Rios remarked. “But I aint nobody’s tune-up fight. I aint no tune-up fight and I aint no punching bag. They’re going to find [out] something different.”