Manny Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum took part in a conference call this week to help hype Manny's comeback clash, against Brandon Rios, the Cali based banger, in Macau on Nov. 23. Here are the top takeaways from the session, which took place where he's training, in General Santos City, Philippines.
1) MANNY REBORN The soon-to-be 35-year-old Congressman maintains he feels beyond stellar, like a man a decade younger. "I have been training very hard for this fight and right now I feel like I am 25-years-old and training that way," he said. "I feel very good. My stamina and my quickness and power are there and I am very excited about that." Arum chimed in: "I think the Manny Pacquiao you are going to see on November 23rd is going to be perhaps better than the Manny Pacquiao we saw against De La Hoya, Hatton and Cotto." Hype, or full-on truth? We shall see on fight night.
2) NO TESTING ISSUES Some media trying to whip up a false frenzy, and possessing a screaming bias they don't admit to, speculated that an issue with testing flared up last week. Manny shot that down. "Yes, I was tested twice so there is no problem," he said. Arum offered more specifics. "They sent a collector twice, I think from Germany and I have confidence in their ability to do a good policing job. The only alternative I had was the other organization, which I don‘t care for." I tend to take things at face value, unless something close to incontrovertible evidence is presented, so there.
3) NEXT FOR MANNY? Arum talked some on what could happen if Manny beats Rios, or not: "This is the last of the three fights – Manny vs. Rios -- and a lot of it depends on who the winner of this fight will be. There are some fantastic matches that can be made next year with these fighters. Manny has unfinished business with Tim Bradley and that might be a good option if he beats Rios. If Rios wins, Ruslan Provodnikov or Bradley would be good opponents. Provodnikov versus Manny, if Manny wins, would be an intriguing kind of fight. And of course there is a revenge match-up between Manny, if Manny wins, and Juan Manuel Márquez, which would be very sellable with the Mexican-Americans - that are still heavily in Marquez’s corner - that would like to see that fight again." I'd like to hear from you readers on what you would like to see next.
4) ARUM CHANGING WITH THE TIMES Arum's recent push into Asia is rather fascinating, as rival Golden Boy has chosen another strategy, to widen their base to all corners of the US. The two behemoths have chosen different routes--we shall see how that plays out in coming years. It's entirely possible that BOTH organizations have chosen the right route. "Stop being so U.S.-centric," Arum, who turns 82 on Dec. 8, said. "The world has changed. There are revenue sources that are huge outside of the United States. And it’s not only Macau – look what happened in Russia where somebody paid $23M for a heavyweight match because they knew in Russia they could generate huge amounts of money from sponsorships and tickets. This is no longer a U.S. ballgame. For example, if Manny were to fight Márquez, the optimum amount of money to be generated could be in Mexico rather than in the United States." Last year, Arum wouldn't go so far as to say that he could derive more revenue in Mexico than in the US; it's clear his thinking has shifted massively. When a questioner posited that Andrey Ryabinsky lost money on his Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin promotion, Arum refuted that. "Well, the guy made $6 million," he said. "Maybe he was hoping to make $20 million. $6 million profit after bidding $20 million. And I know that for a fact."
5) NO ARIZA PLEAZA Pacman also took a couple minor shots at ex pal Alex Ariza, the strength and conditioning coach who he and Freddie Roach divorced. "Alex Ariza? He has a right to talk, but I have boxed more than him and I have no comment." Smart stuff from Pacman. The worst insult for many folks is to be ignored, to be thought of as insignificant.
Follow Woods on Twitter.