by David P. Greisman
When welterweights Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios step into the ring in the main event of their upcoming pay-per-view, it will be the evening of Nov. 23 in the United States — and around noon on Nov. 24 in Macau, China, which is where Pacquiao-Rios is taking place.
It’s an adjustment from Pacquiao’s recent fights. There is a 16-hour difference between Macau and Las Vegas, where 10 of his last 12 bouts have been. Yet Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, says his fighter is being aided by adjustments they’ve made in camp, as well as where Pacquiao’s camp is.
“What we’re doing is we’ll run him at 4:30 in the morning. We’re getting up earlier in the morning and training him earlier in the afternoon. We’re getting him used to having two meals before the fight,” Roach said on a Nov. 13 media conference call. “It shouldn’t be too much of a problem. We are ready to fight, and we’re actually on the same time zone as China here in the Philippines. So we don’t have to deal with jet lag.”
Rios, meanwhile, trains out of California and arrived in Macau on Nov. 13.
“The fact that we are fighting in the morning, it is different and we have never done that,” Rios’ trainer, Robert Garcia, said on a media conference call last month. “It’s not only different for us but for everyone on the card and is new for everybody. One thing about Brandon is that he always trains at that time anyway. He is always at the gym at 11, and by noon he is already sparring and doing his work. So that is already something we do, so it could benefit us. When we go to Macau we will do the same thing. We will be training early.”
Added Rios during that Oct. 30 call: “It’s going to be different, but not really. Once you get in the ring and fight you are not even thinking about, ‘Oh it’s going to be too early for me.’ It’s in the morning, but to me, I’m just ready to fight, to get it on, to show the world what I can do when I’m in top shape having the best training camp ever, and when I come in mentally and physically ready to show everybody what they can expect from me.”