Manny Pacquiao chooses Brandon Rios as next opponent

Manny Pacquiao will fight Brandon Rios on Nov. 23.
(Jeff Bottari / Getty Images)

Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring Nov. 23 against Oxnard’s Brandon Rios at the Venetian Macao resort, his promoter and lead advisor announced Monday.

The welterweight fight will be televised by HBO pay-per-view.

Although Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) and Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) are coming off losses in their most recent fights, veteran promoter Bob Arum said the desire to match the two free swingers against each other was impossible to resist and should produce a strong audience.


“We felt with Rios, based on his past of being an [active] competitor would make this a great fight against Manny,” Arum said. “It’s a fight people want to see. Most boxing fans want to see guys mix it up.

“There’s a school of fan who want to see artistic fights with fighters like Floyd Mayweather and Guillermo Rigondeaux, but we felt they also want to see a knock-down, drag-out action fight, and that’s what we’re going to give them.”

Pacquiao and Rios, 27, were not immediately available for comment.

By going to China and not Las Vegas, Pacquiao can avoid paying hefty U.S. taxes that Arum claimed would subtract up to 40% of his purse. The Macao venue played host to an event this year, and Arum is convinced the gambling locale will bring hefty riches to the event.

Pacquiao was knocked out Dec. 8 by Juan Manuel Marquez and Rios lost in a narrow unanimous decision against Mike Alvarado on March 30 after the two engaged in a near fight of the year (second to Marquez-Pacquiao) last year.

Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach told The Times last week that he wanted Pacquiao to choose Rios because Pacquiao had so badly beaten up Alvarado in a sparring session.


Marquez told The Times he will never again fight Pacquiao, content for life to enjoy how he felt in so throughly dismissing his rival once and for all after three close decisions.

“That’s up to Marquez,” Arum said. “He’s a wealthy guy who’s going to make good money against Tim Bradley in September. You’re not talking about a stupid kid who needs money.”


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