The fight will take place on Sunday morning in China so that it will also be on during primetime Saturday night in the US.
Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said last month that he was deciding between Rios or Mike Alvarado as Pacquiao’s next opponent. Alvarado and Rios have fought each other in their most recent bouts. Rios won the first match in October, while Alvarado won the rematch in March.
Pacquiao’s team says they chose Rios because they believe his slugging style will lead to more of an exciting fight.
“We felt with Rios, based on his past of being an [active] competitor would make this a great fight against Manny,” Arum said, via The Los Angeles Times. “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’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was also happy about the decision to choose Rios. He told The Times that one reason is because Pacquiao beat up Alvarado badly in a sparring session.
Roach also told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole that he’d like to see Pacquiao get “sweet revenge” on Rios. Rios, along with Antonio Margarito, mocked Roach’s speech and movements two years ago. Roach suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.
Iole has a number of great details about the fight and how it came to be, so I suggest his article for more reading. One interesting note is that the fight will be sold in pay-per-view form online and distributed by MLB Advanced Media.
Pacquiao, who is from the Philippines, will train for the fight in General Santos City. His big reason for fighting in China is to avoid the tax hit he would have from fighting in the US.
Pacquiao (54-5-2) is coming off consecutive losses. Rios (31-1-1) is coming off his first career loss.