By Keith Idec
The image of an unconscious Manny Pacquiao falling face-first to the canvas is one most of us will never forget.
Brandon Rios remembers it vividly, too, but the former WBA lightweight champion hasn’t allowed it to affect preparation for his Nov. 23 welterweight fight against Pacquiao. Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) expects to encounter a prime Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) in Macau, China, even though the Filipino superstar hasn’t boxed since Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez knocked him out with one punch in the sixth round of their Dec. 8 welterweight bout in Las Vegas.
“I’m expecting the Pacquiao that was dominating the game,” Rios said Tuesday on a conference call to promote their HBO Pay-Per-View main event. “That’s the guy I’m ready for. 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.
“So we cannot go into this saying, ‘Oh, Pacquiao’s done. He’s old overnight,’ and this and that. No, I’m not looking at it like that. I’m looking at the Pacquiao that was dominating the game. So I’m getting in the best shape I can get and 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.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.