Manny Pacquiao to fight for typhoon victims
The Filipino boxer says the best way he can help his fellow countrymen is by winning in Macau
Manny Pacquiao believes the best way to bring inspiration and hope to the victims of the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in his native Philippines is to win his comeback fight against Brandon Rios.
To do that, he has to limit the distractions ahead of next week's fight in Macau. So that rules out a visit to the areas most devastated by the deadly typhoon to the north of where he's in a training camp at General Santos, in the southern Philippines.
It's a heart-wrenching decision but his handlers, including veteran trainer Freddie Roach, have insisted it is for the best. Instead, the Filipino congressman is dedicating the fight against Rios to the people.
In what he called a "statement to my people", the 34-year-old Pacquiao (pictured) said: "I really want to visit the area and personally do what I can to help our countrymen who have suffered so much in this terrible tragedy. But I'm in deep training for a crucial fight so I regret I cannot go.
"I will send help to those who need it the most," he added, "and I enjoin all of you to pray for our country and people in these trying times."
Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz said the former pound-for-pound champion was hoping to visit devastated parts of the Philippines after his fight at the Venetian Cotai Arena and wants to cheer them up with a victory.
Koncz said Pacquiao's camp had been watching developments and getting frequent updates in the wake of the typhoon, and it was difficult for the former champion not to go out and help.
"Manny's desire was to go to that area and to visit them and lift the spirits," Koncz said. "But we have the most important fight of his career. His heart and prayers go out to the survivors and the victim's families. Absolutely, he is dedicating this fight to the victims of this."
Pacquiao and his entourage leave for Macau on Monday.
"It's been one of the best camps I can remember. No tensions within - everyone dedicated to our jobs and working hard," Konzc said. "Manny's in the best physical condition he can be in. His mindset is on showing the world he can still compete to the highest level."
Koncz said if anyone was able to put the outside distractions on hold, at least for the duration of a bout, it was Pacquiao. "Manny knows how to manage himself. He's been in the game a long time and knows his body better than anyone else. He's in that zone right now, he's ready. If he had to go tomorrow, he'd be ready."