Pacquiao to make ring return against Rios
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Filipino boxing icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao will return to the ring on November 24 against the hard-hitting Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios, in a welterweight fight to be held at the Venetian Hotel in Macau.
|Former lightweight champion boxer Brandon Rios (C) of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Richard Abril of Cuba in a fight for the vacant WBA lightweight title at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada April 14, 2012. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters.|
"They'll be fighting at 147 (pounds)," Arum said, referring to the welterweight limit. "Michael Koncz is going over the contract, and Rios has agreed to it verbally, so that’s no problem."
"These are the guys who, when they agree, then it's done. Manny will be signing this week, and he's already received advances from me," he added.
Because of the time difference, the fight will be held on November 23 in the United States and will be presented by HBO Pay-Per-View.
Speaking to Boxing Scene, Koncz said the bout will be a "more exciting fight for the fans."
"I think it's a win-win for everyone. It’s a perfect style for Manny, and it's going to be an exciting fight. Everyone knows that Manny likes to engage and brawl, and everyone knows that Rios is going to come straight-forward and throw a lot of punches," he added.
It will be Pacquiao's first fight since losing to rival Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico last December via a stunning sixth-round knockout.
"Manny wants to come back and avenge the tragedy of what happened in his last fight, and what better way than to get in a brawl with Rios," Koncz said.
Rios, for his part, is also coming off a loss, having dropped a unanimous decision to Mike Alvarado in their March 30 clash that is considered an early Fight of the Year contender.
"People know what Rios brings to the table. People want to see a real fight, and that is what you get with Rios," Arum told ESPN.
It will be the first time since 2006 that Pacquiao will be fighting outside of the United States. He defeated Mexican Oscar Larios in a fight held at the Araneta Coliseum in July 2006.
Arum has previously said that fighting in Macau will be more favorable for Pacquiao due to the high tax rates in the United States.
The promoter told ESPN that the Pacquiao-Rios fight "will be monumental from the standpoint of economics in boxing."
"We have a whole program of how to market pay-per-view in China, and we're gonna go on a barnstorming tour of China," Arum said. "In the United States, we market essentially only through cable and satellite systems."
"But in China, where they have about 1.4 billion people, it's all on the Internet, on iPhones, iPads and computers. If this thing works like we expect that it will, the boxing business will never be the same," he said.
Last April 6. Top Rank held its first major fight card in Macau, headlined by Chinese Olympic gold-medalist Zou Shiming, who won via unanimous decision in his professional debut. In the main undercard fight, Brian "The Hawaiian Punch" Viloria lost his flyweight titles to Mexico's Juan Estrada.