Pacquiao's career on the line in Macau

Thu Nov 21, 2013 1:34am EST
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By Kieran Mulvaney

MACAU (Reuters) - Manny Pacquiao will be fighting for his country and his career on Sunday morning when he takes on American Brandon Rios in the first major international fight card to be held in the gambling capital of Macau.

The bout is taking place in the devastating aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which smashed into Pacquiao's native Philippines on November 8, killing more than 4,000 people and leaving another 4 million homeless.

Eight weight world champion Pacquiao, who is also a congressman from Sarangani Province, said that the tragedy is inspiring him to succeed.

"I am more motivated for this fight, to win this fight because what happened in the Philippines," he told Reuters this week. "My countrymen, I want to make them happy. To bring honor to my country."

For Pacquiao, victory is also essential to maintain an exceptional career that has stuttered of late, following a controversial points defeat to American Timothy Bradley in June 2012 and a shocking sixth-round knockout loss to old foe Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico in December.

The Marquez defeat was his last ring outing, and the Filipino icon, 54-5-2 (38 KOs), said that the extra time between bouts has left him feeling refreshed and ready for action.

"It's good for me to have a rest like this," he said. "I feel like I'm hungry to fight again in the ring. I feel like when I was starting boxing."

However, Rios' trainer Robert Garcia, while paying respect to Pacquiao's ring achievements in the past, thought the timing might be perfect for his fighter to score an eye-catching victory.   Continued...

Boxer Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines looks on during a news conference at the Venetian Macao hotel in Macau November 19, 2013. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu