Hong Kong's Rex Tso Sing-yu has been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with superstar idol Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines in October.
Tso, who will be fighting Thai fighter Rusalee Samor in the Fists of Gold II bill in Macau tomorrow night, said he wouldn't "miss it for the world" - not only the chance to trade shots with the former eight-division world champion but helping "Pacman" get in shape for his next fight against American Brandon Rios on November 24, also at the Venetian Cotai Arena.
"I couldn't be more excited about this. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Pacquiao is my super idol and to train alongside him is a huge honour," said Tso, who will probably train in General Santos city for 10 days.
The Pacquiao camp, headed by coach Freddie Roach, have been impressed by the Hong Kong fighter, who sparred with Roach's protégé, China's two-time gold medallist Zou Shiming, when they were in Hong Kong last week preparing for Fists of Gold II.
Pacquiao will begin training for the Rios fight on October 6 and the 34-year-old Filipino, coming off two successive defeats, wants to prove he is still a force in the ring.
"We put Shiming in with Rex in Hong Kong last week and we had very good training. Shiming had too much speed on Rex, who is a very good up-and-comer," Hall-of-Fame trainer Roach said.
"I invited Rex to train with Pacquiao and Shiming in the Philippines because Rex could be a really good sparring partner for these guys. He can help us out and help himself out, too.
"Sparring with Pacquiao is very good for young players as you can see how hard Pacquiao works and you can see his high work ethic. So it works very well for all parties," Roach said, adding that Pacquiao would train for six weeks in General Santos.
Tso's trainer and manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, was excited that his fighter would train in world-class facilities for the first time.
"Pacquiao has his own hotel and private gym. To be invited to train with Pacquiao … I would go just for two hours never mind 10 days! If Rex gets better coaching and training, he'll be a much better all-around fighter," Lau said.
"As you know, we're an amateur outfit. We pay for our own expenses and our own training. Rex can learn so much from the Pacquiao camp. Every time he learns something new, he gets better. So much is going well for Rex. To see himself on the billboards with his face on it [in Macau], it's like a dream for him."
Lau said Tso (9-0-0) had continued to surprise him by improving with every fight.
"He's fast but he still needs to improve his skills. Somebody like Freddie [Roach] can be the one to take him further.
"The Pacquiao camp has also one of the best conditioning and strength coaches in the world in Gavin MacMillan. It's going to be a fantastic training camp ."
Lau, the Hong Kong head coach at DEF Boxing in Sheung Wan, said Zou had improved over the past four months after training at the world-class Wild Card gym in Los Angeles.
"There's no doubt Zou has improved tremendously since his last fight in Macau in April. He has a lot more power and moves forward a lot more. He's moving and punching with better leg work. I'm quite envious that Zou is getting the best care out there."