I MUST admit interest and enthusiasm for the next Manny Pacquiao fight has diminished since the Filipino icon was knocked out cold by Mexico’s El Dinamita, Juan Manuel Marquez, in their fourth encounter in Las Vegas last December.
I know this because I don’t find too many materials on the Internet regarding the coming Pacquiao-Brandon “BamBam” Rios fight in Macau on Nov. 24.
Not even the seven-city press tour of this fight is getting much publicity, compared to the Trilogy with Marquez that was launched at the historic Manila Hotel two years ago.
I found out about the Pacquiao-Rios tour in connection with the Milan Melindo-Juan Estrada double-title fight which was staged last night at Venetian’s Cotai Arena in Macau.
Juan Estrada is the ring toughie who wrested the WBO and WBA flyweight belts from Fil-Am Brian “The Hawaiian Punch” Viloria, also at the Venetian, last April.
Melindo, who was in the undercard of that match, vowed to get back the unified titles from the Mexican.
Today, we will know if the most promising fighter from the ALA stable had succeeded.
From Macau, the Pacquiao-Rios press tour group will fly to Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore. They will then proceed to New York and Los Angeles before wrapping up their trip in Bristol, Connecticut, where the ESPN headquarters is based.
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I remember discussing the projected Pacquiao-Rios fight a couple of months ago with boxing scholar Ed Tolentino and I recall asking him for an unofficial prognosis of the match, the first one for Pacquiao since December.
I remember Atty. Ed telling me that it was hard to determine the extent of how last December’s knockout had affected our former 8-division world champion both physically and psychologically.
Ed said only after this fight with the hard-hitting brawler will we know the actual condition of the Pacman.
Pacquiao’s coach and trainer Freddie Roach, in an interview over a radio program in the US, had expressed the same apprehension.
Roach said it was he who had opted for a long period of inactivity for Manny, after last December’s devastating knockout dealt by Marquez.
“I think it was best for Manny to have a long period of rest because after being knocked out like that, we’ve seen all the damage that concussions do to athletes in football, hockey … any sport,” Roach said.
Rios had promised to duplicate the Marquez feat.
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If there is one person who has kept faith in the capability of Manny, it is his fellow-Filipino and world boxing champion Nonito Donaire Jr., who also lost his title this year to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Nonito told ABS-CBN Sports that Manny is stronger, faster than Rios .
“Manny has both power and speed and could prove a handful for Rios. He just needs to develop his stamina dahil hindi hihinto yang si Rios,” he said.