Eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao is training hard in General Santos City for his upcoming fight with Brandon Rios on November 23rd in Macau, China. He reflects on his training camp, the strategy for Rios and more.
The majority of your professional fights have been in the US. Why fight in Macau now? How do you ensure that you knock out Rios and not the other way around?
“This was an exciting opportunity to be a part of the biggest boxing event in a blossoming boxing market. I love meeting new people and this is a big chance for the sport of professional boxing to develop interest in it to one of the biggest untapped markets in the world. It’s great for the sport and it gives me a chance to fight near my country where they don’t have to spend a lot on travel to see me in action. Plus, it’s nice not to suffer from jet lag traveling to a fight. Macau and the Philippines, where I am training, are in the same time zone and have the same climate. I could get used to that!
“It’s important for boxing to develop new markets like Macau, China and all of Asia. It’s good for boxing to have more good Asian boxers turn pro. Hopefully the more shows we do in China, the more Asian fighters will be encouraged t become professional. I think Macau, with is early success with Zou Shiming, could become a boxing capital.
“I never go looking for the knockout, but you can be sure after getting careless with Juan Manuel Márquez, I won’t be setting myself up for getting knocked out. With age comes maturity and with maturity comes patience. I will not rush in looking to knock Rios out but rest assured if the opportunity presents itself I will go for it.
“This has been an excellent training camp. The first six weeks were spent on conditioning and now I am sparring three days a week. It’s great to have Master Freddie [Roach] back in camp with me. This will be my longest training camp. I feel so fresh having taken 10 months off. I have never done that before. My legs have an extra bounce to them and I feel so strong and fast.
“Freddie has studied a lot of film of Rios’ fights and has developed a very special plan for fighting him.
“The question isn’t “Am I ready for Rios?” It’s “Is Rios ready for me?”
Face Off with Max Kellerman: Pacquiao/Rios debuts Saturday, Nov. 2 at 12:15 a.m. ET/PT on HBO.
Pacquiao vs. Rios takes place Saturday, Nov. 23 live on pay-per-view beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.