By Jake Donovan
HBO and Top Rank have already begun to go all in on its November 23 pay-per-view event, when Manny Pacquiao faces Brandon Rios lives from Macau. A full-blown media blitz is in the works, with the goal to deliver to its viewing audience the feel of life in China as it experienced by the fighters and fight personalities in country for the event.
The final stop of a 24,000-mile press tour spanning the globe came Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles. While most of the comments offered from the show’s principles was the same as has been stated during previous press engagements, HBO was pleased to reveal what fans can expect in the final weeks leading up to fight night.
“On November 2, HBO will televise a very special edition of Face Off,” revealed Mark Taffet, Senior Vice President of HBO PPV. “Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios will be face to face and nose to nose with Max Kellerman, talking about how they will attempt to dismantle one another on November 23.”
The Face Off episode will kick off a month’s worth of fight coverage, which will also include the return of its 24/7 series.
“On November 9, we will launch our first episode of HBO 24/7,” Taffet informed the gathered media, while also pointing out that Rios will make his series debut. “This guy (Rios) is a heck of a character. I and everyone else across America can’t wait to see you on that show.”
The episode will coincide with a planned doubleheader that evening, with plans calling for Nonito Donaire and Mikey Garcia to appear in separate bouts. Donaire, Garcia and Rios are all trained by reigning Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia and managed by repeat award-winning boxing manager Cameron Dunkin, recognized industry-wide for his knack for discovering boxing talent.
HBO will also televise the weigh-in live from Macau on Friday, November 22 (November 23 local time), kicking off a fight weekend that marks the first time ever that an HBO pay-per-view event airs live from China.
“In a fight like this, there are no losers and the fans are big winners,” Taffet insists.
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38KO) fights for the first time since suffering a shocking one-punch 6th round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez in their epic fourth fight last December. The loss was his second straight, having previously landed on the wrong end of a controversial split decision against unbeaten Tim Bradley last June.
Rios (31-1-1, 23KO) is also coming off of a loss, as well as moving up in weight for this fight. The free-swinging Californian came up short in his rematch with Mike Alvarado this past March, dropping a decision five months following his 7th round knockout in their Fight of the Year contender last October. The pair of fights with Alvarado marked his first official bouts as a 140 lb. contender, after failing to make the 135 lb. limit in back-to-back title fights.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.