Pacquiao set to fight Rios on November 23 in Macau
Former 8 division champion Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2) will return to the ring to take on Brandon Rios (31-1-1) on November 23 in Macau, China.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum had recently narrowed the choices for Pacquiao's next fight to Mike Alvarado and Rios after his primary targets Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley decided to fight each other.
The Filipino fighter has been focused on his political career since his knockout loss against Marquez in December made it back-to-back defeats after he lost a controvisal split descision to Bradley last June.
There was speculation the 34-year-old might retire, but instead he will fight outside the United States for the first time since 2006 against former WBA lightweight champion Rios, an aggressive American who will go into the fight on the back of a points defeat to Alvarado in March.
The contest will take place at 147 lbs.
This is kind of a do or die fight for Pacquiao. If he gets knocked out or beaten by decision it'll be his third straight loss and a clear sign that he needs to hang up the gloves and go off into the safety of politics in the philippines.
"Manny is definitely going to get his mojo back in this fight," his trainer Freddie Roach said.
"I think it'll be an exciting fight but Manny is going to land and knock this guy out somewhere along the way. Rios likes to exchange and his style is not really difficult to figure out, so Manny's going to hit him."
Promoter Bob Arum said "we want to get the people a really good, exciting action fight. Rios is an exciting fighter, so it's a good match."
On the decision to hold the fight in China-owned Macau, Arum said "We think it opens a tremendous market in China because it enables us to do pay-per-views there in ways that we haven't done before."