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Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Rios wowed by weight of Pac bout

By Dan Rafael


It's not every day that you find yourself standing on the Great Wall of China, especially to promote a boxing match. But that is just where Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios found themselves earlier this week.

Pacquiao and Rios, along with a full support team, are in the midst of a massive 23,722-mile media tour that will take them to seven cities in three countries -- China, Singapore and the United States -- as they promote their welterweight showdown on Nov. 23 (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the CotaiArena at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel in Macau.

After their kickoff news conference in Macau last weekend, which was held in conjunction with Saturday's card in that city -- they headed to Beijing, where they visited the Great Wall and Tiananmen Square while also meeting the media.

On Tuesday, they climbed part of the Great Wall before flying to Shanghai for the second leg of the tour.

"I hadn't planned on beginning training camp until Aug. 12, but I think I began it today," Rios said, joking, who raced up a portion of the steps against Pacquiao.

Said Pacquiao: "Now I know that I've got my work cut out for me after racing against Brandon up those steps. He's already in good condition. This is my third visit to Beijing and it always seems so new to me. It's a great cultural experience that is saturated in history."

In Tiananmen Square, Pacquiao, who is from the Philippines, and Rios walked around and signed autographs and took pictures with folks who recognized them.

This will be the biggest fight Rios, a former lightweight titlist, has ever had. He seems to be enjoying the promotional tour immensely.

"I can't believe the beauty I have seen in Macau and Beijing," Rios said. "I have seen a life and culture I never imagined. It's been an incredible experience for me. The media and the fans have been wonderful. I know I take a little getting used to, but they seem to understand my sense of humor. I think some of them think I'm Chinese. The only other time I fought outside the U.S. was in Mexico back in 2008, against Ricardo Dominguez, and a lot of people thought I was Chinese there, too."

As a guy from Oxnard, in Southern California, Rios is familiar with bad traffic. But Beijing at peak traffic hours makes Los Angeles look like a country drive.

"I want everyone in Southern California to know that traffic on the 405 has nothing on Beijing's rush hour," Rios said.

In October, Rios (31-1-1) stopped Mike Alvarado but is coming off a decision loss to him in their epic March rematch in a fight of the year candidate. Still, given Rios' penchant for exciting fights and the fact that 34-year-old Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), who has won world titles in a record eight weight classes, is also coming off the big knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December, they are fighting each other looking to get back on top.

Rios, 27, said he realized at the Macau news conference just how big of a fight this is for him.

"I was surprised at how nervous I was before the first press conference in Macau," Rios said. "I don't think the enormity and the significance of this event dawned on me until I walked out on the stage and saw hundreds of media there. All of a sudden I realized that I was headlining a major pay-per-view for the first time. It was emotional for me. But I'm over that now.

"Manny makes a lot of mistakes and [trainer] Robert [Garcia] and I will be working hard on making a plan to exploit them. I can't let this opportunity slip through my fingers."