Manny Pacquiao admits to “feeling a little pressure for” his November welterweight fight in Macau, China, with rising junior welterweight Brandon Rios, adding, “an impressive victory against Rios will raise my name again in boxing.”
Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) turns 35 in December, and will have been out of the ring for nearly a year by the time he faces Rios (31-1, 23 KOs), a former lightweight beltholder, on Nov. 24 in Macau (Nov. 23 in the western hemisphere).
Even Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has said that the loser of Pacquiao-Rios may be “finished” during an with RingTV.com in May, given that Rios, 27, is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Mike Alvarado during a March rematch of Rios’ seventh-round stoppage win last October.
Pacquiao’s feelings were expressed in a press release issued by event promoter Top Rank.
“I am feeling a little pressure for this fight since I have lost my previous two. An impressive victory against Rios will raise my name again in boxing,” said Pacquiao, who is in the early stages of a seven-city press tour promoting his bout with Rios.
“My belief in God and training as hard as I can will help to relieve that pressure. I need to prove I still can fight like the old Manny Pacquiao. I need to restore the public’s confidence in me and my abilities. It’s important that this be an impressive victory. I have already begun to visualize my fight with Rios.”
Having been a 135-pound beltholder before rising into the 140-pound division for his matchups with Alvarado, Rios has said that it is his goal “to go out to and to dominate” Pacquiao, adding, “when I catch his ass, he’s going to go down.”
“My first impression of meeting Manny Pacquiao in Macau was that he was smaller than I thought he would be,” said Rios, who is trained by Robert Garcia and who is in the midst of a seven-city tour promoting the clash with Pacquiao.
“I have an enormous amount of respect for him and what he has accomplished. Manny makes a lot of mistakes, and Robert and I will be working hard on making a plan to exploit them. I can’t let this opportunity slip through my fingers.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao has expresse confidence in his abilities to defeat Rios, even as he still laments the stoppage loss to Marquez, against whom he is 1-2-1.
“I was in my best shape when I fought M├írquez last December. I was winning the fight. I had taken control. But I got careless and made a mistake, being in the wrong place for him to land that final punch,” said Pacquiao.
“But that’s boxing. That’s what makes it so exciting. I have seen Rios fight and I am confident that I will win the fight. One of my advantages is my experience against better opposition. I think the question that needs to be asked is, ‘Is Rios ready for me?'”
Manny Pacquiao versus Brandon Rios press tour
(All Times local)
TUESDAY, JULY 30 at 12:30 P.M.
Park Hyatt Beijing – Courtyard 1
WEDNESDAY, JULY 31 at 12:30 P.M.
Four Seasons Shanghai – Ballroom 1
SATURDAY, AUGUST 3
Marina Bay Sands Singapore
MONDAY, AUGUST 5
Fighters Visit ESPN
ESPN Headquarters, Bristol, Conn.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 6 at 3:00 P.M. ET
New York Press Conference
Jong Fong Restaurant
20 Elizabeth St.
(South of Canal St., between Canal & Baynard Sts.)
New York, NY 10013
THURSDAY, AUGUST 8 at Noon PT
Los Angeles Press Conference
The Beverly Hills Hotel – Crystal Ballroom
9641 Sunset Blvd.
Beverly Hills, Calif. 90210
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]