Manny Pacquiao has dedicated his world title bout against Brandon Rios to the typhoon-ravaged people of the Philippines, declaring: “This fight is for you.”
The Filipino great told a press conference ahead of his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title contest in Macau on Sunday that his thoughts were with his people as they attempt to recover from 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’, who has held world titles in eight weight divisions.
“To all the people and the families who have been affected by this storm, the typhoon – this fight is for you.”
More than 4000 people were killed and up to 4.4 million displaced as a result of the record-breaking typhoon, which packed some of the strongest winds ever recorded by a storm making landfall.
Rios, 27, 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 a “tune-up” for Pacquiao, who needs a victory after consecutive losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez last year.
“They think I’m no problem,” Rios said, looking at the Pacquiao entourage.
“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.”