When Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) steps into the ring with Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) in Macao, China on November 23, the boxing world will get their first glimpse of Pacquiao since they last saw him laid out on the canvas, unconscious, from a Juan Manuel Marquez punch last December. So many questions as to what would become of the man considered the best fighter in the world alongside Floyd Mayweather have been asked, and now we’ll finally get answers. Before the Pac Man laces up the gloves, he spoke to KnockoutNation.com about whether he ever considered retirement, what fans should expect against Rios and whether we’ll see the old Manny Pacquiao ever again.
Knockout Nation: You are used to fighting at least twice a year, was the time away good for you?
Manny Pacquiao: This camp we had time. I didn’t fight for one year so I had to get into athletic shape by playing some basketball and doing some other things and then work on boxing after. We trained for 10 weeks for this fight. But yes, I’ve been fighting twice a year for my whole life. It was a nice break.
Knockout Nation: After the loss, did you ever consider retiring?
Manny Pacquiao: No. I felt like I was winning the fight and got careless. Marquez caught me with a good punch. I’m not ready to retire and I can still compete?
Knockout Nation: Was it hard to convince your wife that you wanted to continue fighting?
Manny Pacquiao: No. I’m thankful for my wife’s support because she said it is my decision and she was comfortable with it. I prayed a lot about the decision and she will always support me.
Knockout Nation: Has Freddie Roach changed anything in your approach since the last fight?
Manny Pacquiao: No. Just different strategy because Brandon is a different fighter. We come into the fight the same. The camp is the same. Freddie is the guy who comes up with the strategy and we discuss it. It’s my job to execute on fight night. The only thing we started a little bit early on my own and when he showed up it has been all business.
Knockout Nation: Is the fire back again considering that you have to work your way back up or did it ever even leave?
Manny Pacquiao: I think the break provided a wake up call to make sure I train hard, not get careless and stick to the plan that Freddie Roach puts in place and just do my job.
Knockout Nation: You have always talked about fighting for the people and giving them a good show. So how important is it to do that against Rios on November 23?
Manny Pacquiao: I’ve said that my winning is not as important as giving the fans their money’s worth. Them and the media are the ones that pay the money to watch me fight. I have to make sure that when they watch me they are both excited and happy with the performance. Brandon Rios has the style: very aggressive, comes forward, doesn’t back up or run. This will not be a running competition, this will be a fight.
Knockout Nation: Is it good for you to fight someone like Rios who is known to bring the fight? Considering the past few fights were against counterpunchers and guys who waited on you?
Manny Pacquiao: Yeah. Both of us will be coming forward. It’s going to be one of those fights where you don’t have to chase anybody.
Knockout Nation: You have talked about proving to others that the old Manny Pacquiao is still here, but do you have anything to prove to yourself?
Manny Pacquiao: I still believe that I can fight the best out there. I got a little bit careless in my last fight and got knocked out because of it but that’s boxing. That’s my sport. Sometimes you get knocked out and sometimes I knock people out so it happens. It’s really about how you bounce back from it. It’s not about getting knocked down, it’s about how you come back from it. In life in general.
Knockout Nation: Brandon Rios said he’s going to retire you. Do you think he feels disrespected that this fight is more about your comeback than his challenge?
Manny Pacquiao: I respect my opponents. It’s my job now to prove him wrong. I’m not somebody that will talk bad or show disrespect. It is my job to fight. After the fight, we can be friends. Some of my past opponents talk bad before and after the fight we are friends. I expect this is one of the most important fights of my career. It’s an opportunity for both Brandon and I to be ambassadors of the sport and have a historic evening in China.
Knockout Nation: Would it be satisfying to KO rios?
Manny Pacquiao: Of course! It would be an added bonus but my focus is on this being a 12 round fight because you never know what happens in the ring. I have to be prepared mentally for a grueling fight because I know Brandon Rios is a good fighter who will come forward and be aggressive.
Knockout Nation: What do you expect Macau to be like when you step into the ring?
Manny Pacquiao: I’m excited and honored to be fighting in Macau. It’s the first PPV card to take place in Asia so I am proud to be the pioneer and ambassador to promote that venture for my sport. Boxing has given me so much so this is a way to give back and promote my sport in china and other places. I’m excited and I think it will be very exciting. It’s going to be really, really loud.
Knockout Nation: Will you ever fight in America again?
Manny Pacquiao: I like to fight anywhere but mainly Las Vegas because it is my second home. I’ve fought there so many times in the last 15 years so it’s like my second home. The opportunity is here to spread boxing so I’m excited to be a part of that. Maybe we can even do shows in the middle east or other places around the world.
Knockout Nation: How long do you want to continue fighting and are you still interested in fighting Floyd Mayweather?
Manny Pacquiao: I don’t want to put a time limit on anything. I’m ready and my focus is on this fight. My training is going well. This fight is the most important of my career. I need to take care of this first and from there we look to the future.