As the fight with Brandon Rios draws closer, former eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao reflects on his back to back defeats to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, having a near one-year layoff and training camp. Pacquiao faces Rios on November 23rd in Macau, China The fight will be carried on HBO Pay-Per-View.
Similar to your opponent, you enter this fight in unfamiliar position. You are coming off back to back losses--not to mention, to a fighter you've beaten (Marquez) and another some argue you beat (Bradley). How will those experiences prepare you for Rios?
"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 Márquez 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 Márquez 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 Six 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 Márquez 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 any 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 Márquez 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 Márquez. 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 November 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."
24/7 Pacquiao/Rios Episode 2 debuts Saturday, Nov. 16 at 11:45 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Pacquiao vs. Rios takes place Saturday, Nov. 23 live on pay-per-view beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.