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    Is Pacquiao on the decline? Rios trainer thinks so
    By Dino Maragay Updated Wednesday August 21, 2013 - 2:09pm
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    Robert Garcia

    MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao suffering back-to-back losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez had some boxing observers and fans concluding that the Filipino icon's best days in the boxing ring are over.

    Robert Garcia, trainer of Pacquiao's upcoming opponent Brandon Rios, shares the same opinion.

    In a report by boxingscene.com's Salvador Rodriguez, Garcia pointed out how Pacquiao's physical fitness has gone downhill in his recent fights.

    "We're going to prepare for the best Pacquiao, the same one from four years ago, that's the Pacquiao that we are going to prepare for. [But] there are things that I've been noticing from his last two or three fights. He does not have the same strength and his legs are suffering from cramps... [possibly] the effects of] age, punishment in the gym. There are things that nobody can hide. It happens to athletes, boxers and there is nothing you can do [about it]," Garcia said.

    Pacquiao will face Rios on Nov. 24 at the Cotai Arena of the Venetian Resort in Macau, China, and this is the second time Garcia will be on the opposite corner.

    The first time was in 2010, when Garcia was working the corner of Antonio Margarito. In that fight, which was held at super welterweight (154 lbs), Pacquiao battered Margarito en route to a lopsided decision.

    Garcia said he has learned from Margarito fight, and that although Rios has a similar, come-forward style, the Mexican-American banger is younger.

    "I will prepare Brandon differently from what we did with Margarito. It has served me well to have been with Margarito three years ago, I learned a lot [from the Pacquiao fight]. And while the style is similar, we know that Brandon is almost 10 years younger than Margarito," he said.

    The trainer went on to point out how Rios will be a tougher challenge for Pacquiao.

    "Pacquiao was still in his time [back then] -  and now Brandon is younger, eager. Pacquiao has changed a lot [since then]. Margarito [squeezed down] to 150 pounds, and Rios is going to come in as a strong welterweight. These type types of things make the difference," he added.

    Garcia even recalled how Margarito got Pacquiao retreating after landing a vicious hook to the body midway in their fight, something he claimed Rios is very capable of repeating.  

    "Brandon hits hard [to the body]. Pacquiao said it and many people told us that Pacquiao went to the hospital [after the Margarito fight] because he broke his rib and I do not want to take anything away from Pacquiao but Margarito was [past his prime]," he said.

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