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Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios during a press conference for their fight in Macau, China.
( Top Rank Boxing )
It will be the Pacman versus the Monster for the World Boxing Organization’s international welterweight belt around Sunday noon local time at The Venetian Hotel in Macau. Coming off a devastating knockout defeat against Juan Manuel Marquez, future boxing hall of famer Manny Pacquiao will go pound for pound against a younger and formidable opponent Brandon Rios. While people worry that Pacquiao might be a fading superstar due for retirement, Pacquiao finds a lot of reasons to gain a “W” as he dedicates his fight to thousands of victims of the super typhoon Haiyan that devastated his home country.
The boxing champion cum congressman Pacquiao stayed in training camp to prepare for his megafight with Rios and had to make the tough decision of not visiting his supporters and countrymen who were savaged by the super typhoon, that was more powerful than Hurricane Katrina.
“I’m doing my best to give a good fight and to win the fight, especially with what happened to my countrymen and what happened to the Philippines with the typhoon. To all the people and families affected by this storm, this fight is for you,” said the 34-year old boxer from Sarangani Province, Philippines, in an interview.
Pacquiao’s coach Freddie Roach disclosed that the disaster in his homeland has inspired and stirred his boxer to be more confident and win the fight.
“Winning the fight is going to do more for the country than anything in the world”His goal is to win the fight for them, for his people, and that’s what makes Manny tick.I hate to say the typhoon was a good thing, I don’t want to say that, it was tragic. But Manny will fight for his people and that’s what’s going to motivate him to win this fight,” Roach pointed out.
Meanwhile the 27-year-old Rios is coming off a loss against Mike Alvarado but is also determined to force Pacquiao to retirement and rise to the ranks of superstars of the sport.
“They think I’m no problem but I’m going to be a huge problem.Everyone thinks I’m a tune-up fight; I’m nobody’s tune-up fight and nobody’s punching bag. In the past when Manny hurt you he would finish you and that could be wearing off a little bit. I’m here to test him, and I’m not going to let him forget that knockout against Marquez,” said Rios.
Megafight in China
While it is unusual for boxing mega fights to happen outside the United States. boxing promoter Bob Arum believes that the bout in China is a big challenge for his company Top Rank Boxing and HBO that will provide the pay-per-view broadcast in the United States but believes that it will still be a hit.
“Conventional wisdom is that if you do a fight outside the U.S., you will adversely impact the number of pay-per-view buys. But balancing that is that there is tremendous curiosity about an event in China. It’s a selling point. Everyone talks about the fight and mentions that it’s taking place in China. Will that curiosity help with the sales? Will having the fight in China help or hurt? The answer is we’re not really sure,”said Arum in an interview with ESPN.
As the preparations for the Pacquiao-Rios heat up, a physical altercation between the two camps took place on Wednesday with both hurling expletives at each other and with Rios’ conditioning coach Alex Ariza throwing a kick and mockery to Parkinson’s disease patient Roach.
“(Pacquiao) said to me ‘are those the guys that made fun of you?’ and I said yes, and he said ‘that’s all I need to know’ and he walked away. He told me he’s going to take care of this guy quickly. What (Ariza) doesn’t realize is that Manny hits me ten times harder every day. It was like a girl kicking me,” Roach said in an interview.
Both fighters made the official weigh-in Friday local time with Manny Pacquiao tipping the scale at 145 lbs. and Brandon Rios registering at 146.5 pounds.
Whether Rios is too strong and too young for the former best pound for pound boxer in the world or will the inspired Pacquiao be too much for Rios is one reason why boxing fans will be glued in front of their TV sets Saturday night U.S. time. The match starts at 9m EST (6pm PST).
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