The Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios bout is still days away, but the boxers have already gotten the fight started outside the ring.
Ahead of the highly anticipated fight on Saturday in Macau, Pacquiao and Rios have engaged in a war of words.
Interestingly, both fighters are painting themselves as the underdog. Pacquiao actually compared himself to the biblical David, facing against a Goliath in Brandon Rios.
“Am I confident for my fight with Rios? I am more than confident,” Pacquiao said. “Rios is bigger than me. Remember Goliath was bigger than David and yet David needed just one stone to fell the giant.”
Rios meanwhile has said he’s not being given much of a chance coming into the fight. Many have predicted that Pacquiao, despite coming off consecutive losses and showing a bit of decline in his excellent career, will easily handle Rios.
“They’re treating me like I’m some sort of joke and that I’m just showing up to be the victim for Manny Pacquiao,” Rios said. “I’m nobody’s tune-up fight and they’re going to find that out soon enough.”
That suggestion seems to be coming from Freddie Roach, Manny’s trainer. Freddie said that Manny is in his best shape in a long time and predicted the fight would end early.
“Manny’s last training session was nothing short of amazing,” Roach said. “We were supposed to do six rounds on the mitts and I cut it off after four rounds. They were the best four rounds of mitts I have ever done with Manny.
“He was blazing; he was throwing the heat. This was the happiest and most productive camp I have had with Manny in years.”
Manny Pacquiao has another motivation coming into the fight. He comes to the fight just a few weeks after Typhoon Haiyan slammed his home nation of the Philippines, and Manny said he is motivated to fight for his people.
“I enter this fight stronger than ever. I have the strength of my country and my people coursing through my body. I fight for them, not for me. I fight for their glory, not mine.”
The Pacquiao Rios fight takes place Saturday night.