When Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios step into the ring for their welterweight clash in Macau on Nov. 23 (Nov. 24 in China) on HBO Pay Per View, the time will be 11 a.m. in China, even as it will be 11 p.m. in New York, and 8 p.m. in Las Vegas. The broadcast will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Although Pacquiao appears to have the advantage over Rios, of Oxnard, Calif., given the similar time zone in China to that of his native Philippines, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum envisions a matchup as even as Muhammad Ali’s 14th-round stoppage of Joe Frazier in their epic third bout in October of 1975 in Manila.
“As far as the idea of them fighting in the morning, remember, one of the greatest fights that I ever saw took place 38 years ago in Manila,” Arum said during a national conference call on Tuesday.
“It was in the morning (when) Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali went at in one of the great fights in the history of boxing. I expect a great, great fight here in the morning in Macau, and Saturday evening usual time in Las Vegas.”
Rios’ trainer, Robert Garcia, appears to concur.
“Everybody knows what Brandon is going to do. Everybody knows how he fights, and ain’t nothing going to change. Brandon has always been the brawler, and that’s what we’re going to go out and do in this fight,” said Garcia. “Brandon’s going to go out there and make it into a brawl, and that’s the only way Brandon can fight, and that’s the only way Brandon knows how to fight. So there’s nothing else we can do.”
RIOS: ‘A DOG…NOT A PUPPY…’ BUT ‘A PIT BULL, GREAT DANE, ROTTWEILER…’
An eight-division titlewinner who turns 35 in December, Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) is attempting to bounce back from consecutive losses having been dethroned as WBO welterweight titleholder following a disputed split-decision against Tim Bradley in June of 2012, and been stopped in the sixth round by four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
A 27-year-old former lightweight beltholder, Rios was last in the ring as a 140-pounder in March, when Mike Alvarado won a unanimous decision to avenge a seventh-round stoppage loss from October of 2012.
Rios believes he is being counted out by the masses.
“Everybody’s giving me no chance,” he said. “Everybody has already marked me off. They’re overlooking me. I just want to show the world and let them know that he’s in there with a live dog, he’s not in there with a little puppy. He’s in there with a live dog who wants to show the world that he’s the best and that he wants to be the best and wants to fight the best.
“This is the guy that has heart and balls and who gives everything in the ring. I’ve been reading articles and I’ve been hearing all kinds of stuff that people are doubting me. I don’t need to keep saying it, but there is just a lot of stuff out there. There are a lot of the f___ing people who know boxing the best, whatever. It doesn’t matter, but everybody’s out there saying it. I just want to go out and shut everybody up and prove them wrong.”
Exactly what kind of dog will Rios be against Pacquiao?
“I’m going to be a motherf___ing pit bull mixed with a Great Dane, mixed with a Rottweiler, mixed with a Bull Terrier, mixed with a half-horse,” said Rios. “I’m going to be a mix of everything. Any f___ing thing, that’s the kind of dog that I am going to be.”
PACQUIAO IS ‘SMALLER THAN ME,’ SAYS RIOS
If Pacquiao selected Rios because he’s the smaller man rising in weight with a come-forward style that makes him easy pickings, then the Filipino super star may be wrong, according to Rios.
“If he thinks that I’m the smaller guy, then, at the press conferences, I believe that he was smaller than me, so I’m not the smaller guy here,” said Rios. “If you believe that, then your eyes are deceiving you, because I’m not smaller than Pacquiao. Pacquiao’s smaller than me.”
“That’s a good point that Brandon raises, because Pacquiao is the much smaller guy. Brandon towers over Pacquiao and he’s much bigger than Pacquiao,” said Arum, pointing to his belief that trainer Freddie Roach has had issues maintaining Pacquiao’s weight near 147 pounds.
“As far as the weight, that’s been one of Freddie’s biggest problems is that Manny is working so hard and he’s so light, that he’s eating five meals a day in order to keep his weight on. In other words, he’s probably now five pounds under the welterweight limit. So Brandon is taller, his reach is bigger, and he probably, today, weighs 10 pounds more than Pacquiao at 152 pounds today. Manny was 142 when I left him.”
GENNADY GOLOVKIN ‘READY TO FIGHT’ CURTIS STEVENS
WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin declared himself “ready to fight” after recently breaking camp in advance of Saturday’s clash with Brooklyn-based Curtis Stevens at New York’s Madison Square Garden on HBO.
In the Garden’s Theater, Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs) returns to the site of his bloody seventh-round knockout win over Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado, whose seven-fight winning streak, including five knockouts, was ended.
“I’m excited to fly to New York City for this fight with Curtis Stevens,” said Golovkin, who is coming off a third-round knockout of Matthew Macklin in Connecticut in June. “Fighting at Madison Square Garden is always very special to me. The training camp was hard, but I’m in great condition and ready to fight.”
The win over Macklin followed Golovkin’s third-round KO of Japanese contender Nobuhiro Ishida in March. Golovkin will be after his 15th consecutive stoppage victory against Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs), who was last in the ring for a first-round knockout of Saul Roman in August after having earned an eight-round unanimous decision over Derrick Findley in April at The Garden.
LOUIS ROSE SAYS HE ‘WAS ROBBED’ OF VICORY OVER PAUL MENDEZ
Despite causing a cut over the left eye of middleweight rival Paul Mendez (14-2-2, 6 KOs), who appeared to be shaken on a few occasions over the final three rounds of Monday’s clash with Louis Rose (8-1-1, 2 KOs), the 24-year-olds had to settle for a spirited 10-round split-draw in the co-main event of a Golden Boy-promoted show on Fox Sports 1 in Redwood City, Calif.
Although Mendez sustained his unbeaten streak at 8-0-2, with four knockouts since falling by split-decision to James Parison in September of 2011, Rose was denied his fourth straight win, having last suffered defeat by unanimous decision to Tony Hirsch in December of 2012.
“We feel that we were robbed…we do not agree with the decision. All the stats showed that I threw and landed more punches. I was clearly the winner,” said Rose. “I hurt him various times during the fight. I hurt him in the eighth and then the ninth and 10th. I hurt him with body shots. That was my game plan was to work the body.”
Judge Steve Morrow had it for Rose, 97-93, Mike Tate had Mendez winning, 96-94, and Susan Thomas-Gitlin scored it 95-95.
“I took the fight to him and I did hurt him with the body shots. The judge was not scoring the body shots. I’m extremely happy with my performance. It was my first 10-round fight on national television,” said Rose.
“I was a little nervous going in, but stuck to my game plan. I listened to my corner and I was completely focused. I could hear my trainer throughout the rounds. I executed my game plan well. I was clearly the winner.”
In the main event, junior featherweight prospect Manuel Avila (13-0, 5 KOs) scored a second-round knockout over Jose Angel Cota (8-10-1, 6 KOs).
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com