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Manny Pacquiao says 'nothing' concerns him about Brandon Rios

October 24, 2013|By Lance Pugmire

Manny Pacquiao provided an update from his Philippines-based training camp Thursday as he prepares for his Nov. 23 welterweight bout in Macao, China, against Oxnard’s Brandon Rios.

Pacquiao’s most relevant words came as he closed the conference call from General Santos City, Philippines: “This is going to be a good fight. All-action. I’m going to do my best to put my name back on the top of boxing.”

That’s what this is all about: Seeing if Pacquiao, at 34, after being knocked out at the end of the sixth round in his December bout against Juan Manuel Marquez, still has it.

Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) said he and trainer Freddie Roach, who is in the Philippines with Pacquiao after missing another of his fighters, Ruslan Provodnikov, win a thrilling technical-knockout stoppage of Mike Alvarado Saturday in Colorado, are working diligently on a fight plan to rehabilitate the Pacquiao brand.

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an exciting fight,” Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao told reporters he’s training as if he’s in his 20s, and when told that the Rios camp had asserted that Pacquiao’s past intimidation was gone, he said, “What I’m doing right now, I’ll prove to them Nov. 23.”

“Manny is training more seriously than I’ve ever seen him,” promoter Bob Arum said. He said that the Pacquiao who enters the ring Nov. 23 might be better than the fighter who beat Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto.

Pacquiao habitually trains hard, however. The question is can he take Rios’ hardest punches if the former world lightweight champion delivers.

Roach has said previously that a forward-charging opponent like the gutsy, brazen Rios is exactly what Pacquiao needs in his return fight.

“That’s what I want,” Pacquiao said. “I like that style. I don’t like running.”

When asked what Rios does that concerns him, Pacquiao answered, “Nothing.” The questioner wasn’t sure he heard the answer clearly so he asked again, to which Pacquiao said, “Nothing, yes.”

He said he’s submitted to two drug tests from the Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn., and added, “Right now, I’m not thinking about the next fight. It’s focus on my training and making sure I’m ready.”

He said he hasn’t seen Timothy Bradley’s Oct. 12 victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, but predicted the outcome, and said he was disappointed to see Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez fail to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. “like Manny Pacquiao. He didn’t do that. Floyd is faster.”

Arum said Bradley, Marquez and even Provodnikov are possible future opponents for Pacquiao, with both men repeating that Pacquiao might never fight in the U.S. again due to the 39% tax rate assessed here.

“Let’s see how this fight goes and then we’ll sit down and work out who fights who next,” Arum said.

Arum made no apologies for taking the HBO pay-per-view fight out of the country, noting the presence of international businessmen like the Russian promoter who paid around $25 million for the Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin in Moscow.

Arum said earlier this month a group in Mexico City wanted to pay handsomely for a possible Pacquiao-Marquez fifth fight there next year.

The Russian promoter, Vladimir Hryunov, "made $6 million and I know that for a fact,” Arum said. “It will enhance the sport of boxing to have a fight with international stature.”


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Twitter: @latimespugmire

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