Brooklyn-born promoter Bob Arum's next mega-card endeavor is a promotion to run in Macau on Nov. 23. His top dog, Manny Pacquiao, who is beloved as a congressman in the Philippines, gloves up against California resident Brandon Rios.
Rios (31-1-1 with 23 KOs), a 27-year-old Texas native, took part in a conference call Tuesday afternoon along with Arum, trainer Robert Garcia and manager Cameron Dunkin. It is clear he is relishing the role of underdog, and is reading articles that say he has no chance against Manny. "It's OK, I just want to go out and shut everyone up, and prove everybody wrong," he said on the call. "I want to show him I'm a live dog, not a puppy."
Anyone thinking he's a punching bag, or "walking bull's-eye" will be in for a shock, he said, because he's aiming to hand the 54-5-2 (38 KOs) PacMan his third straight loss.
Rios said he thinks Manny is smaller than him, and Arum chimed in. "Brandon towers over Pacquiao," whom he said has to eat five meals a day to keep weight on. Arum left the Philippines yesterday, and said Manny was about 142 pounds.
The promoter said months ago that this fight in Macau is something of a gamble, as the bout will be fought in the morning, to mesh with U.S. television and pay-per-view. He said on the call that the risk tag has been removed, that the arena will be sold out, and business will be brisk throughout Asia on closed circuit. He said he expects bang-up PPV numbers, and there will be no shortage of hype in the States. A radio row will be set up at the Venetian in Vegas prefight to stir the pot, he noted.
Rios was asked about the presence of strength and conditioning and supplement expert Alex Ariza in his corner. Ariza was a longtime member of Team Pacquiao, who was bounced by trainer Freddie Roach and Pacquiao after a long period of discord, and squabbling between Ariza and Roach, as well as between Ariza and Arum. Rios said Ariza made him "faster and more light on my feet," but he didn't ask for any scouting report on Manny.
Readers, what kind of chance does Rios have to upset the congressman, who some feel at age almost-35 might be nearing the end of the fistic road?