by Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao has begun to push himself in training for his battle with former champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios whom he faces for the WBC International welterweight title at the Cotai Arena in Macau on November 24.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said the eight division world champion “began hard training today” which was handled by Filipino assistant trainers Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez and Nonoy Neri.
At the same time Koncz revealed that despite speculations that a fight against undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., who schooled Mexico's Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Saturday, may be possible sometime next year - Pacquiao is “concerned about Rios and not thinking about Mayweather” emphasizing that Pacquiao is “not underestimating Rios.”
Koncz said that celebrated trainer Freddie Roach is scheduled to take a flight immediately after the fight of Miguel Cotto against Delvin Rodriguez and is expected in General Santos City where Pacquiao is training by October 7.
The adviser also made it clear that under present plans which were discussed with Pacquiao and Fernandez they are “not hiring anybody” to replace former strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza who was earlier fired by Roach with Pacquiao’s consent.
Koncz insisted that Pqcquiao knows he has a tough fight on his hands against Rios and that’s why he has already started “hard training” and is focused only on the November 24 fight against Rios.
Koncz who had conversations many months ago with Mayweather in an effort to talk him into agreeing to fight Pacquiao said the pound-for-pound king “did a tremendous job against Alvarez” even as he remarked that “Canelo was terrible.”
Koncz also mentioned that boxing received “a bad black-eye once again” with the ridiculous 114-114 scorecard of judge CJ Ross who has come under bitter criticism from media, fight fans, promoters and boxers around the world who said she should never be allowed to judge a fight again.
CJ Ross was the same female judge who scored the fight for Timothy Bradley over Pacquiao in a decision that was roundly condemned.
Koncz said he was generous to give Alvarez two rounds even as he noted that Mayweather’s “reflexes and speed are still there aside from his still being one of the greatest.”
Mayweather, who has a six fight contract with Showtime, was quoted by LA Times Lance Pugmire as saying - "At this point, Manny Pacquiao is not in my plans." But Showtime executive vice president for sports Stephen Espinoza who would have a powerful voice in such talks and said - "I don't consider anything un-doable. If Floyd ultimately has any interest in it, I have no problem putting all of our efforts into making that fight.”