By Rick Reeno
Michael Koncz, the adviser to eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38KOs), has advised BoxingScene.com that a deal has been reach for the Filipino superstar to face the always dangerous Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23KOs) in a welterweight contest on November 23rd at the Venetian in Macau, China.
Because of the twelve hour time difference, the match will technically take place in the morning on November 24th in Macua, but the actual HBO Pay-Per-View will air at the normal start time [9EST/6PST] on Saturday night in the United States.
There were two fighters in the running, Rios and Mike Alvarado - but Pacquiao and his team felt Rios would make for a more exciting fight.
"It will be Brandon Rios, everything is squared away for the Venetian in Macau. Manny felt the style of Rios would be more fan friendly and make for a more exciting fight for the fans. Manny wants to come back and avenge the tragedy of what happened in his last fight and what better way than to get in a brawl with Rios. I think it's a win-win for everyone. It's a perfect style for Manny and it's going to be an exciting fight. Everyone knows that Manny likes to engage and brawl and everyone knows that Rios is going to come straight-forward and throw a lot of punches," Koncz told BoxingScene.com.
Pacquiao is returning for the first time since a deadly sixth round knockout at hands of Juan Manuel Marquez from last December in Las Vegas. Prior to that, he lost a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley last June. In his last fight, Rios lost a very close and exciting twelve round decision to Mike Alvarado in March. In their first encounter, Rios stopped Alvarado in the seventh round of a "Fight of The Year" frontrunner last July.
If Pacquiao were to lose the fight with Rios, Koncz admits that it would be time to sit his boxer down and discuss the possibility of walking away. He says Pacquiao's future in the sport is certainly on the line with Rios.
"I think Manny's safety is number one. That's why it is a very important fight. I think we are going to be okay and have a tremendous win. If God forbid that doesn't happen, you are right - we will have to sit down [and discuss retirement]. It will be a very entertaining fight but it's also a very important fight for Manny. We need to have a very tremendous night that night and we have to come up with a tremendous victory," Koncz said.
Koncz indicates that press tour is being worked out, with stops in Macau, New York City and Los Angeles.
The Filipino superstar will train for a week at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles before heading over to General Santos in the Philippines for the majority of the camp. The tail-end of Pacquiao's camp will take place in Macau, says Koncz.