Manny Pacquiao expects an all-out slugfest when he fights American Brandon Rios in Macao in November.
The famous Filipino, once rated as the best boxer in the world, pound for pound, hopes to win again and silence calls for his retirement after two consecutive defeats.
Pacquiao, whose record now stands at 54-5-2, including 38 knockouts, returns to the ring on November 24. In his most recent fight, in Las Vegas last December, he was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez.
Undeterred, the 34-year-old Pacquiao has lined up a non-title welterweight fight with the aggressive Rios for his first fight in eight months and his first in Asia in seven years.
"It's going to be a good fight because Rios loves to fight toe-to-toe. He loves action in the ring," Pacquiao told reporters in Macao on Saturday.
“So what we have to do is to train hard and prepare a hundred percent, physically and mentally. And of course we always pray to God that nobody gets hurt," the former champion in eight divisions said.
Rios (31-1-1, with 23 knockouts) is also coming off a defeat; a points loss to Mike Alvarado at light-welterweight in Las Vegas in March.
The 27-year-old former lightweight champion was confident, though, of beating Pacquiao and moving back into title contention.
"I'll be ready. I'll be in 100 percent ready; mentally and physically. On November 24, you'll see a new superstar rise and that's going to be me," said the California-based fighter, who will have a height advantage over Pacquiao.
"I'm going to show the world and everybody who doubts me, everybody who talks bad about me, who say I'm a punching bag. They are going to find out something different."
Before taking the Rios bout, Pacquiao had been linked with an epic fifth duel with Marquez, a battle with Alvarado or a rematch with Timothy Bradley, who also beat him last year.
Former heavyweight champion George Foreman thinks a bout between Rios and Pacquiao is the best welterweight fight available.
"Manny Pacquiao, in his weight division … there's no one better at punching. Brandon Rios, in his division ... there's no one better at taking a punch. This will be one of the best fights we've seen," Foreman said.
Pacquiao agreed. "Brandon Rios is the biggest test out there for me. I have heard what Brandon has been saying. If he fights as well as he boasts it will be a great fight for us and the fans."
Tags: Manny Pacquiao , Brandon Rios , Pacquiao-Rios , Pacquiao vs Rios