RingTV.com caught up to once-beaten junior welterweight contender Brandon Rios regarding his recently announced welterweight debut against Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China on Nov. 23 (United States time; Nov. 24 in China).
A 27-year-old resident of Oxnard Calif., Rios (31-1-1, 23 knockouts) is coming off a close unanimous decision loss to Mike Alvarado in March that was a rematch of Rios’ seventh-round stoppage win over Alvarado last October. Both bouts were Fight-of-the-Year-caliber battles.
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) is attempting to rebound from consecutive losses, a disputed split-decision to WBO beltholder Tim Bradley last June and sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
Pacquiao is trained by Freddie Roach, who called the match up a shot at “sweet revenge” for a video in which Rios and now-retired former welterweight titleholder Antonio Margarito appeared to mock Roach’s Parkinson’s disease.
“Brandon Rios made some remarks about me a couple of years ago,” Roach told Yahoo!Sports, referring to November 2010 video in which Rios and ex-beltholder Antonio Margarito appeared to mock Roach’s Parkinson’s disease. “So seeing him get knocked out by Manny would be some sweet revenge.”
Rios offered his thoughts on the Pacquiao fight in this Q&A below:
RingTV.com: What can you say about the the Pacquiao fight?
Brandon Rios: That’s a great opportunity, man. It’s about time that they’ve given me my big shot. Hopefully, today I’ll sign the contract.
I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, so it’s about time. I’ve worked my way up to get here and hopefully, everything works out in my favor. Because I’m ready and I’ve been ready for this big shot. I can’t wait.
RTV: Have you envisioned how a fight between you and Pacquiao would go?
BR: It’s going to be a very good fight. We both like to fight. We both hardly back down. We both throw a lot of punches in bunches. So it’s going to be one helluva good fight. I can’t wait for this fight, because it’s going to be exciting.
Not only that, but I get to see a part of the world that I otherwise would never have gotten to see in my lifetime, and that’s China. So that’s pretty crazy, man.
RTV: What did you take away from your loss to Alvarado who boxed a little bit, made adjustments, and how can that help you for this fight?
BR: Well, Alvarado didn’t box. If you call running boxing, that’s not boxing. Boxing is staying in the pocket, making him miss shots, throwing a good jab, throwing a good this and that; body shots, uppercuts, and making me miss and countering very well. Juan Manuel Marquez is a good boxer. Floyd Mayweather is an awesome boxer. So there’s a difference between boxing and running.
Alvarado came with a game plan and that was not to get hit and to stay away from all of the big shots, and he did. When he was hurt, and every time I touched him, he got hurt, he kept on running.
If they call that boxing then, s__t, I guess that I’m in the wrong sport or something or there’s something wrong, because I don’t consider that boxing. That’s running.
But other than that, Pacquiao, he’s a great boxer too. Well, I don’t know about being a great boxer, but he does have great movement. Lateral movement.
He doesn’t come (straight forward), (he) jumps in and jumps out a lot, and he’s very good at it. And he’s got power in both hands, so, this is a very exciting fight for me. Not only for me, but also for the fans.
RTV: Your power translated well into the 140-pound division, but do you think it will be as strong at 147?
BR: Honestly, if you have power, then, no matter what, that’s going to follow you no matter what weight class you’re in. You’ve just got to work hard to get it better and stronger and stronger.
You know, moving up to 147, it’s going to probably help me rather than kill me, because I won’t have to kill my body that much to lose all of that weight.
So it’s going to be great. The power’s going to be there with me, and I’m ready to win a battle again. I’m always ready to win a battle, and I’ll be ready to win this one, 100 percent.
RTV: Do you still believe, as you said following your win over Alvarado in the first meeting, that you can do to Pacquiao what you did to him — get the knockout?
BR: Of course, man, I’m always going to believe in my skills and what I can do in the ring. I’m a warrior, man, and I believe in my heart. If I see that I can hurt you or knock you out, I’m going for the kill.
So, you know, I still feel that it’s going to be the same thing. I’m going for the kill, and I’m going to fight, and that’s what I’m doing, man.
I can’t say that I’m going to knock him out and this and that, because right now, we don’t know yet. But I’m ready. I’m ready to fight, and I always go for the kill. I always look to have a good fight and to have a great performance.
RTV: Do you welcome the fact that they say that they picked you because you stay in the pocket, and, thus, lend yourself to being knocked out?
BR: Everybody can say what they want to say. People always say that. ‘Oh, I’m going to knock him out.’ That was what Alvarado said in the first fight. ‘I’m going to knock him out,’ and, ‘I’m bigger than him, I’m stronger than him.’
He said ‘He just comes straight forward.’ But people don’t realize that yes, I do come forward, and I do stay in the pocket long, yes. But they don’t realize that I do have great defense. I do block a lot of shots. And when I’m on the inside, that’s my best.
I fight very well on the inside. I’m a great inside fighter. So, you know, if they say they can knock me out, you know what? Well then let them say that they can knock me out.
But they’ll find out that it’s a different story. They’re going to find out that it’s a lot different when you’re in the ring with me. A lot different. It’s different when you’re in the ring with anybody.
BR: You know what? It’s payback? Something like that? Hey, if they’re still stuck on the past, that’s the past. I can not change people’s opinions.
If everybody’s stuck on the past about it, then, hey, f__k ‘em. F__k everybody that thinks about the past. There’s nothing I can do about that.
I’m looking forward, and I’m always looking forward about things. I’ve forgotten about that incident. It was a stupid incident that I took full credit for what I had done.
Yeah, it was my fault. But if they don’t see that, and they don’t see that I apologized, hey, then I can’t change the way they think.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com