Advertisement
Advertisement

Pacquiao Ready To Add To Macau's Growing History

By Jake Donovan

A watershed moment for the largest nation in the world came on November 24, 2012. Xiong Zhao Zhong became the first ever male boxer from China to win a major title, claiming a vacant strawweight belt in his hometown of Kumming.

It was an important moment in the sport of boxing, but not one that draws immediate recollection if you ask the average boxing fan.

Exactly one year to the date of that historic occasion, Macau will play host to an event that already has the world abuzz.

It matters little that Manny Pacquiao no longer claims championship status in any particular weight class. Nor does it matter that his last win will have come more than two years prior once fight night arrives, as he enters this fight riding a two-fight losing streak.

All that matters is that the sport’s largest global star is returning to the ring. The former eight-division champ takes on Brandon Rios in a 12-round welterweight fight, in what will serve as his first global event to not take place in the United States.

“As you can see before your eyes, the world is changing,” noted Bob Arum shortly after a brief theatrical display of Chinese culture helped kick off Tuesday’s press conference in Chinatown.

The six-city press tour spanning 24,000 miles between the United States and Asia hasn’t taken its toll on the 81-year young promoter, who feels invigorated after having introduced his latest big event to the global market.

“We started a tour, which began at the beautiful Venetian Macao in Macau, China. Along the way, we’ve stopped at Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and now here we are in New York, The world is changing, but the world stays the same.”

There is a lot of truth to the last part. The press tour ends Wednesday in Los Angeles. By then, Pacquiao and Rios will have been asked the same questions over and over, just in various dialects.

In terms of X’s and O’s, the November 23 fight (which will actually be November 24 in Macau) isn’t very different for either participant, particularly Pacquiao. The card will mark the 15th time that the Filipino icon headlines an HBO PPV event; three more shows airing in other mediums (once on Showtime, twice via Top Rank independent production) make 18 of his last 19 fights serving in a pay-per-view main event.

Where the event creates a new chapter in his life is its global significance. The last time Pacquiao fought outside of the U.S. was in July ’06, when he outpointed Oscar Larios in what presently serves as the last time he played his native Philippines. The bout was entertaining, but hardly made a ripple in terms of relevance, largely due it serving as his own promotion and as an independently distributed pay-per-view show.

That is not at all the case here, where all parties involved have pulled out all of the stops.

HBO’s willingness to come on board comes with the compromise of the show taking place on a Sunday morning local time. “Nothing will be different other than over in Macau we will be starting Sunday morning at 10:00AM – the equivalent of Saturday night in the United States,” Arum clarifies.

The event marks the third time that HBO sends its cameras to China, all coming in 2013 and covering events presented by Top Rank. The previous two trips have centered around the development of three-time Olympic medalist Zou Shiming, whose first two pro fights aired via same-day tape delay on HBO2.

Shiming became the first ever fighter from China to win an Olympic medal, capturing Olympic Bronze during the 2004 Athens Games. The moment came 12 years after China sent its first team to the 1992 Summer Games following the reinstatement of boxing in the nation of more than 1.3 billion.

The sport of boxing was banned in 1959, six years after the death of a prizefighter in the city of Tainjin. Under the rule of Mao Tse Tong (Zedong), the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (ironically, a hero to Mike Tyson, who proudly displays a tattoo of the late dictator on his right arm), combat sports as a whole were banned from the nation during the 1960’s Cultural Revolution.

It wasn’t until the late 1970’s when the nation once again began to embrace the sport. It began with the movement led by reformist Deng Xiaoping, aided by a timely visit from Muhammad Ali, an Olympic Gold medalist in 1960 who was in the midst of his third tour as World heavyweight champ at the time.

The emphasis of competing on a global level to earn respect in the sports world lead to boxing being taken seriously in that corner of the world. Such a revolution paved the way for Shiming to capture medals in three consecutive Olympics, including back-to-back Gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Games. 

Such an achievement paved the way for Shiming’s pro debut to serve as the biggest moment in the history of his nation, far overshadowing that of countryman Xiong Zhao Zhong’s title-winning effort late last year.

The success of the two shows headlined by Shiming, including a blockbuster card just last month, motivated Top Rank to bring the sport’s biggest star to the world’s most populous nation.

“It’s something great to do an event that pulls the world together,” Arum says of the forthcoming show, which will also include Shiming in an eight-round bout. “All over Asia, all over China, fans already knew all about Manny Pacquiao.

“China was a place where, for more than 30 years, boxing was banned. Neither amateur nor pro boxing was allowed. Now with the great success of Zou Shiming, the eyes of 1.3 billion are once again focused on boxing. Now their eyes are focused on another Asian boxer.”

The thought of making a global impact isn’t at all lost on Pacquiao, whose wild fan base in the Philippines can enjoy a much shorter trip to his next fight than having to fly halfway around the world to Las Vegas.

“It’s going to be a memorable fight,” Pacquiao promises. “It’s a good chance to promote the sport of boxing in China.”

It’s also a great chance to promote Manny Pacquiao on the global stage, and the concept of truly global events in general.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by HeroBando on 08-07-2013

[QUOTE=JOM'S;13626551]I hope Macau would be a second las vegas for boxing, and more big fights are made there, more money for boxing and for someone like me, who lives a lot closer to china the america, maybe I could watch…

Comment by JOM'S on 08-07-2013

I hope Macau would be a second las vegas for boxing, and more big fights are made there, more money for boxing and for someone like me, who lives a lot closer to china the america, maybe I could watch…

Comment by twosweethooks on 08-07-2013

[QUOTE=Arakawa Dunn;13625944]hahah largest global star. hahahaha.[/QUOTE] come on dunn you read it , you like to tell us how the media feels about pacs wins over jmm , well here is one that is telling us PAC is the LARGEST…

Comment by ChestRockwell on 08-07-2013

Macau, Macau, Macau...F*ck Macau.

Comment by Kilrain on 08-07-2013

Getting more excited about this fight, sucks that it is still over three months away! Bound to be a rock 'em, sock 'em war.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (8)
Top Headlines Mikey Garcia: If No Layoff, I Definitely Would Be a Big Star Berto Wouldn’t Be A Gimme For Danny Garcia, Says Showtime VP Adonis Stevenson-Thomas Williams: Post-Fight Report Card Frampton Must Defy Conventional Wisdom To Upset Santa Cruz Bracero on Malignaggi Bout: I'm Fighting For My Dreams, Future Jose Roman, Ruben Villa Batter Opponents at The Doubletree McGuigan: Frampton Has Been After Santa Cruz Since 2013 Canelo Smiles: I Ran From Golovkin? He's Fought NOBODY! Santa Cruz vs. Russell Much Better Fight; Both Want Selby Next Frank Warren: Frampton Left 122 With Rigondeaux Clash Marquez Has No Regrets Over Cotto Position, Retirement Near Adonis Stevenson With Vicious Knockout of Williams in Four Adonis Stevenson vs. Thomas Williams: LIVE BScene Scorecard Ruslan Provodnikov Meets With Promoter, Return is Anticipated Eleider Alvarez Beats Robbie Berridge, On Course For Stevenson Frampton’s Promoter: Santa Cruz is Carl’s Toughest Fight Yet Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia Potentially in Early 2017 Adonis Stevenson vs. Thomas Williams - CompuBox Review Photos/Weights: Luis Nery vs. David Sanchez in Tijuana Photos/Weights: Antonio Orozco vs. Lopez, Joseph Diaz vs. Proa Carl Frampton After the Scales: This Was Easy and I Feel Great SHO VP: Wilder vs. Joshua in Late 2017, Could Be Pay-Per-View Photos: Mikey Garcia vs. Rojas Malignaggi-Bracero Battle Ready Photos: Frampton, Santa Cruz Ready For War at Barclays Center Video: Frampton Fans in Force at Weighin For Leo Santa Cruz Antonio Gutierrez vs. Jorge Melendez, LA Fight Club on 9/2 Juan Carlos Camacho Jr. Goes Pro With Miguel Cotto Thomas Williams: TKO Loss To Gabriel Campillo Doesn’t Define Me Chisora Unlikely To Land Whyte, Trying To Get Helenius Rematch Weights From Brooklyn: Santa Cruz 125.4, Frampton 125 Frampton To Santa Cruz: I'll Be The Bigger Man on Fight Night Adrien Broner's Request For Early Release From Jail is Denied Tyson Fury To Take On UKAD Over Drug Test Results Adonis Stevenson-Thomas Williams: Pre-Fight Report Card Lara's Manager on The Possibility of Facing Gennady Golovkin Roach: Me and Pacquiao Remain in Boxing To Get Mayweather Verdejo's Manager Says Flanagan Clash Possible For November Frank Warren on Crawford: Best American in a Long Time Amir Khan: I'd Need 6 Months of MMA Training For McGregor MGM Liverpool Launches, Will Promote October Show
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement