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January 21, 2018

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Manny Pacquiao to fight Brandon Rios in China on Nov. 23


Steve Marcus

Boxer Manny Pacquiao smiles during a news conference at MGM Grand on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will fight for a fourth time in a welterweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.

Click to enlarge photo

Brandon Rios, left, paces the ring after losing to Mike Alvarado in a super lightweight bout for an interim 140lb. WBO title at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Saturday, March 30, 2013. The fight was a rematch to a Oct. 13, 2012 fight which Rios won.

LOS ANGELES — Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring Nov. 23 against Brandon Rios at the Macau Venetian resort in China, Pacquiao’s promoter and lead adviser announced Monday.

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

Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) and Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) are each coming off losses, but veteran promoter Bob Arum said the desire to match the two punchers against each other was impossible to resist and should produce a big 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,” Arum said.

Pacquiao and Rios, of Oxnard, Calif., were not immediately available for comment.

By fighting in China and not Las Vegas, Pacquiao can also avoid paying hefty U.S. taxes that Arum claimed would subtract up to 40 percent of his purse. The Macau venue hosted a boxing card earlier this year, and Arum is convinced the gambling locale will help generate a large purse.

In his last fight on Dec. 9, Pacquiao was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, and Rios suffered his first loss in a narrow unanimous decision against Mike Alvarado on March 30.

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told the Los Angeles 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 would never again fight Pacquiao, content to enjoy how he felt in so thoroughly dismissing his rival once and for all after three previous close decisions.

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

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