Manny Pacquiao is just roughly two weeks away before he finally faces former lightweight champion Brandon Rios on November 23 at Venetian Macao in Macau, China.
Pacquiao might be the overwhelming favorite heading into the showdown. But with Rios coming off his best training camp of his career, it looks like things won't be that easy for the Filipino slugger inside the ring.
Pacquiao in Best Shape
In a recent interview with ESNews, Top-Rank head promoter said Bob Arum said Pacquiao has already reached its tip-top shape with still a couple of weeks to go before making his much awaited return inside the ring, almost a year since absorbing a sixth-round TKO at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
Arum said Pacquiao is having an excellent training camp so far. In fact, the Hall of Fame promoter stressed the former pound-for-pound champion is showing the form he had during his memorable fights with Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton.
"He looked like the old Manny Pacquiao, reminiscing how he trained and how he looked when he fought Cotto, Hatton and De la Hoya." Arum said when asked how good Pacquiao has been at training camp," Arum told ESNews via Latinos Post.
Instead of holding his training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, the fighting congressman decided to stage his preparation in his own gym in General Santos City.
Roaring Rios on a Mission
Meanwhile, Rios is also preparing hard for the fight of his career. In fact, 'Bam Bam' has reportedly been knocking out his sparring mates while gaining improvement in his endurance and power under the tutelage of strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
"Yes, I do. I see Brandon Rios beating Manny Pacquiao," said Ariza, who split unceremoniously with Pacman's camp following a rift between him and head trainer Freedie Roach.
Breaking Down Rios' Chance
Honestly, no boxing expert has the guts to bet against Pacquiao in his showdown with Rios. After all, many considered Rios as a warm-up fighter for the Pacman ahead of next year's potential clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr. or another big time boxer.
However, reality speaks that this is not going to be an easy fight for the Filipino fighting congressman. The 26-year old Rios is hungry for more fame and rearing to re-establish himself as one of the top young guns in the business following his loss to Mike Alvarado earlier this year.
Moreover, the presence of Ariza and his scientific conditioning approach will surely benefit him as he goes toe-to-toe with an elite brawler like Pacquiao. There will be firework from the opening bell, and proper conditioning is needed for him to last 12-rounds of hell.
In short, Rios poses a serious threat to Pacquiao, whether you believe it or not. The California brawler is younger, stronger and a lot starved for fame and fortune than Pacquiao, whose legacy was already secured.
Ready to Rumble
Arum promises the Battle of Cotai bout between Pacquiao and Rios to be as good as another classic fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila in 1975.
Remember, another loss for Pacquiao would mean the end of his epic career while a victory will put him back in the upper echelon of boxing elites.
"November 23, people will see a great event coming from a location all away around the world in Macau, China. And it's gonna be an unusual experience fighting in the morning.
"The last time I did this was in 1975, the Thrilla in Manila, and that was one of the best I've ever seen, and maybe this one will be equally as good," said Arum in interview with ESNews.
For more Pacquiao vs. Rios update, read more at IBT Sports