Manny Pacquiao's gradual decline has been said to be a result of many things: age, wear-and-tear, lack of passion for the sport (compared to his glory days, at least). It has also been said to not even exist, perhaps because Manny is an ageless wonder and a hard 18-year career has not affected him at all. This is possible -- ON NEPTUNE!!
But Manny says that he does have the drive still, and that his killer instinct is still there. In fact, he says that he felt it again last December against Juan Manuel Marquez, when he was knocked out in the sixth round of a fight he had been winning, and definitely had shown some real fire for:
"I have confidence in my ability. If we look back at my last fight, my condition, my aggressiveness and my killer instinct is there. My killer instinct and aggressiveness is back and it's just what happened in the 6th round" said Manny during his last press conference in Los Angeles.
I do think it's reasonable to say that maybe Manny lost some of that killer instinct, that finishing instinct, when he was fighting Shane Mosley, and maybe in the third fight with Marquez, and maybe against Tim Bradley. But he did look a lot more like the Manny of old in the fourth Marquez fight than he had previously. Perhaps the bad decision against Bradley woke him up, combined with he and Mosley being booed out of the arena for their crap fight in May 2011, and Pacquiao getting jeered heavily for his decision win over Marquez in November 2011.
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO) will definitely need to have the drive on November 23, because whatever Brandon Rios may lack in speed or technique, he has two-fold in heart and determination. If Manny isn't ready for a fight, he could find himself in DEEP WATERS sooner than later. And if he's coming in looking for the highlight reel, it could be big trouble for Rios.