MACAU: Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios showed great respect for each other during the press conference ahead of their World Boxing Organization welterweight title contest in Macau on Sunday, It is in stark contrast to their respective trainers who were involved in an ugly expletive-laden physical confrontation in the gym at the Venetian Macau resort earlier on Wednesday.
“All I can say is both teams prepared for this fight. Let this finish in the ring and not in trash talk before the fight,” Pacquiao said in a clear verbal swipe at what had happened earlier.
“Let’s set a good example to all the people who admire boxing,” he added.
“All I can say is, this is sports. This is nothing personal, we are doing our job in the ring. Anyone who has a grievance should forgive as the Lord forgives.”
The 27-year-old Rios, meanwhile, had no doubt he will beat Pacquiao, who turns 35 next month and has a record of 54 wins, five defeats and two draws in a pro-career spanning almost 19 years.
The American, a former lightweight world champion, declared he was in the shape of his life and should not be written off as merely a “tune-up” for Pacquiao, who needs a victory after consecutive losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez last year.
“This is the best shape I have ever been,” Rios said. “I’ve been disciplined, I’ve been dieting, I’ve been doing every I have to do to win. I actually have followed the instruction of my corners, before I never did.
“They think I’m no problem,” Rios said, looking at the Pacquiao entourage. “Sunday, I’ll be a problem.
“I’m nobody’s tune-up fight. I’m nobody’s punching bag—a punching bag don’t punch back. Sunday you’re going to find out I’m not going to stop. I’m a monster when I get in that ring.”
Pacquiao dedicated his world title bout against Rios to the typhoon-ravaged people of the Philippines, declaring on Wednesday night: “This fight is for you.”
The Filipino great told a press conference that his thoughts were with his people as they attempt to recover from Super Typhoon Haiyan which smashed into the Philippines on November 8.
“I’m doing my best to win this fight and give a good fight especially with what happened to my countrymen,” said Pacman.