A somber opening to the episode, as HBO showed graphic footage of the devastation typhoon Haiyan left behind in the Philippines. Manny Pacquiao dedicated his Nov. 23 fight against Brandon Rios to those affected by the typhoon.
Here's more from the episode:
Best Spoken line, Manny Pacquiao: "I can remember my life when I was young. We were nothing. Sometimes we eat, sometimes we don't have food to eat."
Best Spoken line, Brandon Rios: "My turn now." After watching stablemate Mikey Garcia knock out Rocky Martinez on HBO.
Best Spoken line, Freddie Roach: "I actually think he's [Pacquiao] working harder now than he's ever had."
Training Days: Manny Pacquiao on the punching mitts.
The Scenic view: The opening of General Santos City.
Best written line: In setting up Rios' journey to China -- The distances were simple enough to calculate. Measuring the mounting pressure was more complex. Still, consider that one of the most decorated boxers in the history of the sport was awaiting him on the other side of the world, and Brandon Rios was not breaking stride at all.
Best supporting cast: Vicky Rios, whose quote was obvious, but often unsaid. "It's somebody we care about in the ring. To everbody it's Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios inside the ring. But to us it's family. It's a boxing match and hopefully none of them get hurt, but if somebody's going to get hurt, I don't want it to be my husband. I want it to be Manny."
* Roach says that Pacquiao has completely taken himself out of Congress to train for the fight. Good for boxing, but is it good government? Imagine a U.S. congressman taking a hiatus to purse something like acting?
* Robert Garcia should be proud of the team and gym he assembled. Longevity will determine where he - and his gym - rate. Boxing is cyclical. The Kronk Gym was on top. Gleason's Gym was on top. And now, The Wild Card has been on top for quite a few years. If Rios beats Pacquiao, it's doesn't necessarily mean that Roach or the Wild Card have been relegated to second place.
* The fact that strength coach Alex Ariza is now in Rios' camp will have no bearing on the fight's outcome. And if Ariza was shouting instructions from the corner, as Roach said, then he should have been dismissed. The hiring of Ariza by Team Rios seems more like a psychological jab than anything else.
* Interesting that Pacquiao trained the entire time in General Santos City. Will see if that makes a difference. He says the people around him motivated him, much like the people of Zaire once motivated Muhammad Ali when he beat George Foreman. Will see if that also makes a difference.
* Good back story on how Robert Garcia opened his home to Rios when Rios was still an amateur and moved out West from Kansas. You hear that all the time in boxing, not so much in other sports.
* Narrator Liev Schreiber's credit once again appeared alone, on a black screen prior to the start of the show. Once again, this has to be HBO's way of saying to Showtime, "He was ours first!" Schreiber has long been HBO's voice of 24/7 and some of its finest sports documentaries.