There was a significant buzz in the air on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 6, 2013) at Jing Fong restaurant in Chinatown, New York. The Asian restaurant, on the corner of Elizabeth and Canal, played host to the latest stop of Top Rank's Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios international media tour (watch full video replay here) to promote their upcoming fight on Nov. 23, 2013.
The Welterweight battle will take place at the 15,000-seat Cotai Arena inside Venetian Macao Hotel in Macao, China, and will be distributed through HBO pay-per-view (PPV) with a 9 p.m. ET start time.
Pacquiao, the Boxing Writers Association of America's "Fighter of the Decade," was mobbed by reporters and sought out by adoring fans who had crashed the media area trying in vain to sneak a photo of the bigger-than-life boxer before the presser had even begun.
One-upping the theatrics of Pacquiao's entrance was a ceremonial Chinese dance -- akin to a scene from a John Woo film -- to kick off the day's festivities, featuring loud drums and dancers clad in dragon costumes. The use of traditional Asian flare to promote a fight in China, with Asia's most popular fighter, seemed ever so fitting.
When the presser had concluded, MMAmania.com spoke to the former WBO Welterweight champion about fighting Rios in China.
"It's a big privilege and honor to fight in Macao," the soft-spoken fighter said. "It's going to be a great chance to promote boxing in China and to give the Asian fans a chance to watch the fight live."
The congressman of the Sarangani Province in the Philippines, is coming off a sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez that took place in Dec. 2012. It was only the third knockout loss in his career and the first in more than 13 years.
"The last fight, I lost the fight. It's part of boxing," said Pacquiao, in a matter-of-fact tone. "If you don't want to lose, then don't fight," he continued. "That's my belief. I think this November 23 fight, I believe it's going to be a good fight and have more action."
The loss to Marquez was his second in a row, and came on the heels of a controversial decision loss to Timothy Bradley on June 9, 2012. That defeat snapped a seven-year and 15-fight winning streak. Despite what shows on his official record, the eight-time champion feels otherwise.
"I'm not considering the Bradley fight a loss," he explained. "Even the people that don't know boxing, if they watch that fight, if you saw that fight, I won the fight."
A veteran of more than 60 fights, the 34-year-old boxer believes that fighting a heavy-handed fighter like Rios, who has 22 knockouts in 33 fights (11 in his last 14), will prove that his fighting days are from over.
"This is what I am trying to do, to prove that I can still fight and that my boxing career is not done yet," Pacquiao stated.
Pacquiao feels that, "Rios is strong. He's a good boxer and aggressive fighter, so I have to prepare 100 percent."
How will the fighter who has sold more live tickets than any other active fighter and credited with more than eight million PPV buys prepare for Rios with his trainer Freddie Roach?
"Same thing of what we are doing in the past, but we need more time," Pacquiao admitted. "I think at least three months. Before we'd do two months, but this time it will be three months."
The six-city promotional tour will now head across the country and conclude in Los Angeles, California. "Pac-Man" left the building the same way he entered, surrounded by his entourage and followed by his loyal fans.