TV schedule: The welterweight boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios can be seen on HBO pay per view for $59.99 plus $10 for the HD version at 9 p.m. Saturday. The undercard fights begin at 7 p.m.
It’s been 11 months since Manny Pacquiao was knocked out by Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez – a loss that led some to believe that retirement was near for the Filipino boxing sensation.
On Saturday, Pacquiao, 34, will attempt to prove naysayers wrong when he takes on Brandon Rios, an American boxer seven years his junior, at Cotai Arena in Macau.
Pacquiao, who has won 10 world titles in eight weight classes, has been consistently ranked as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in his generation.
And although he is coming off consecutive defeats, including a controversial split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley in June 2012, the fighter known as “Pac-man” isn’t letting the defeats rattle his confidence.
“I lost. My next fight, I’m not thinking I’m scared because I’m going to get hit again,” Pacquiao said in the HBO video series previewing Saturday’s fight. “No, I’m not thinking about that.”
Rios, nicknamed “Bam-Bam” for his straight-ahead style, has only lost once, a unanimous decision to Mike Alvarado in March.
Some critics believe Rios’s style is tailor-made for the lightning-quick Pacquiao, a notion Rios brushes off.
“It’s okay, there’s always going to be criticism out there, there is criticism for everything I do,” he said (via USA TODAY Sports.) “It actually motivates me even more. And it gives me the (motivation) to prove everybody wrong. When I fight the best, they always bring the best out of me.”
Pacquiao, who is guaranteed $18 million for the fight and could earn more than $30 million, and his team know the stakes are high.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, believes that “Manny can outbox him and he can do it with ease,” but realizes the end may be near if things don’t go well against Rios.
“If I see he is slowing down and slipping in the fight, I will be the first one to tell him” to retire, Roach said (via Sports Illustrated.) “We have an agreement that I will tell him that and he will retire. I don’t see him slipping in the gym at this moment, and he’s doing really well. He’s fired up and anxious to get back in the ring and I see good things. But if things don’t go well, we will talk about retirement.”
Birthplace: Kibawe, Philippines
Height: 5 feet 6-and-a-half inches
Record: 54-5-2, 38 knockouts
Last fight: Knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez (Dec. 8, 2012)
Birthplace: Lubbock, Tex.
Record: 31-1-1, 23 KOs
Last fight: Unanimous-decision loss to Mike Alvarado (March 30)