This weekend one of the sports biggest stars will make his long awaited return to the ring. Manny Pacquiao will face Brandon Rios in a welterweight fight taking place in Macau, China. This will be the first big PPV from China to be shown on the American network giant HBO. The fight will take place early in the morning Macau time in order to accommodate a 9 PM start time in the United States.
The big story-line heading into the fight is based around Pacquiao coming off the vicious knockout he suffered at the hand of Juan Manuel Marquez last November. Rios is also coming off a loss, he suffered the lone loss of his career at the hands of Mike Alvarado this past March. Rios, a career lightweight, will be making his welterweight debut, which will surely put him at a disadvantage as he has only fought at junior welterweight twice.
The camps seem to be doing their best to promote a fight that is failing to produce the hype normally surrounding Manny Pacquiao’s fights. Today an altercation occurred between Rios’ and Pacquiao’s camps which resulted in Alex Ariza, Pacquiao’s former strength and conditioning coach, kicking Freddie Roach in the stomach. The incident began due to Brandon Rios’ gym time being delayed by some interviews. Rios gets the gym between 9 and 11 am, with Pacquiao getting the gym after. Roach reportedly approached Robert Garcia around 11 am and told the trainer to “get out.” Garcia refused which angered Roach who then made many expletive heavy borderline racist comments directed at Rios’ camp. Ariza then mocked Roach’s voice and Parkinson’s disease and kicked him in the stomach. It was a very classless display from both camps, but Roach and Ariza who have had their history in the past; are the most at fault. Although, the entire incident is probably nothing more than a stunt to try and build excitement for the fight.
Regardless of the antics caused by the two camps, this fight promises to be Pacquiao’s worst performing fight in years. Rios did nothing to deserve a chance to face Pacquiao, who is yet again fighting a much smaller man. Anything short of a one punch knockout will be a big disappointment for the Filipino superstar. This fight feels like little more than a quick cash grab by Arum and Pacquiao, highlighted by their choice to fight in China to avoid US taxes.
What did you think of this article? Are you looking forward to the fight this weekend? Let me know in the comments section below.