Once-beaten junior welterweight contender Brandon Rios “can’t wait” to make his welterweight debut against eight-division titlewinner Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China on Nov. 23 (United States time; Nov. 24 in China), the 27-year-old resident of Oxnard Calif., told RingTV.com on Tuesday during his first interview since the matchup was announced by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum and Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz on Monday.
“That’s a great opportunity, man, it’s about time that they’ve given me my big shot. Hopefully, today I’ll sign the contract,” said Rios, who will face Pacquiao at the Venetian Casino & Resort in Macau on HBO Pay Per View.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, so it’s about time. I’ve worked my way up to get here and hopefully, everything works out in my favor. Because I’m ready and I’ve been ready for this big shot. I can’t wait.”
Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Mike Alvarado in March that was a rematch of Rios’ seventh-round stoppage win over Alvarado last October. Both bouts were Fight-of-the-Year-caliber battles.
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts), who turns 35 in December, is attempting to rebound from consecutive losses by disputed split-decision to WBO beltholder Tim Bradley and sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez last June and December.
“It’s going to be a very good fight. We both like to fight. We both hardly back down. We both throw a lot of punches in bunches. So it’s going to be one helluva good fight,” said Rios.
“I can’t wait for this fight, because it’s going to be exciting. Not only that, but I get to see a part of the world that I otherwise would never have gotten to see in my lifetime, and that’s China. So that’s pretty crazy, man.”
“Thanks to my manager, Cameron Dunkin, he’s the one who got the fight done. He made everything possible. He’s the best manager in the business. I’m very happy and I’m very pleased,” said Rios.
“Thanks to Team Pacquiao for selecting me, and for Top Rank for giving me this opportunity and to all of my fans around the world. Thank you guys for following me. I love you guys. This is the shot I’ve always wanted.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org