Bob Arum feels the vintage Manny Pacquiao is back; compares the Rios performance to his showcase vs. De La Hoya

Manny Pacquiao tagging Oscar De La Hoya during their December 2008 clash (Photo: Chris Farina – Top Rank)


By Chris Robinson

Following his unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios last month, the reviews for Manny Pacquiao’s return bout were generally positive.

Inside of the Venetian Resort’s Coati Arena in Macau, China, Pacquiao showed himself to be well up to the task, as he tagged Rios all night long while showing enough defensive prowess and footwork to stay out of harm’s way.

The fight was Pacquiao’s first match in eleven months, dating back to his knockout loss this past December to Juan Manuel Marquez.

Catching up with Bob Arum on Monday afternoon, the veteran promoter revealed that a big reason why Pacquiao looked so refreshed was his decision to train in his hometown of General Santos City, Philippines as opposed to staging another camp in Los Angeles.

“I thought he looked terrific and he was well-rested,” Arum stated. “You see, the big problem with Manny is when he trains in L.A., he’s so busy with things in the Philippines that when he gets back to go to bed, he’s on the phone, he’s texting and all that stuff; he doesn’t get any sleep.

“But when he trains in the Philippines that’s not possible, because when he goes to bed, everybody else is in bed,” Arum added. “He was well-rested, got plenty of sleep, worked just as hard. And that showed in his performance.”

So impressed by Pacquiao was Arum that he compared the victory over Rios to Manny’s drubbing of Oscar De La Hoya five years ago.

“He looked, to me, like he did when he fought De La Hoya,” Arum revealed. “Darting around, hitting from odd angles and disappearing before the guy could answer back. That’s his best strategy.”

Pacquiao is presently spending much of his time back home assisting victims of the typhoon that devastated his country and Arum insists he will catch up with him once he is free to discuss some possible opponents for his April return in Las Vegas.

“A lot of it depends on who he wants to fight,” Arum claimed. “He’s busy sleeping in tents and helping out the Philippine people that were devastated in the typhoon. Until he gets back to a place where I can reach him, I can’t really make any plans.

“Contrary to what everybody thinks, it’s not me who makes the decision,” Arum continued, elaborating on Pacquiao’s options. “We [will] discuss it all and see who he prefers fighting, who Freddie wants to fight, and then we make a determination. I won’t throw out any names because that’s not fair to the fighters who don’t make the cut.”

Arum definitely sees the appeal of a rematch with WBO welterweight titlist Tim Bradley, who beat Pacquiao via a controversial split-decision in June of 2012, yet he isn’t fully sure that the matchup could be made right now.

“I think that would be an excellent fight,” Arum said. “Tim is a wonderful fighter, a great technician, and I think people will be interested in the fight. Whether we can put it together and what Manny’s views are, I really don’t know.”

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Chris Robinson can be reached at


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