MANILA, Philippines – World light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins admitted that he was shocked to find out that Filipino ring icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao agreed to fight the hard-hitting Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios.
Hopkins was informed by Boxing Scene that Pacquiao and Rios will clash on November 24 in Macau.
“Brandon can punch. Are you serious? They are brave as hell,” said Hopkins.
Hopkins, the oldest man to win a major world title, is concerned that Pacquiao will take a risky fight especially after he was knocked out in his previous bout by rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Listen, if Pacquiao fights this fight after getting knocked out like that, I have to take my hat off to him, because that’s a brave move,” Hopkins said.
“It’s not a good business move, but that’s a brave move,” he added.
Rios is coming off the first loss of his career, a unanimous decision setback to Mike Alvarado last March 30. But “Bam Bam” is still a dangerous fighter, having won 23 of his 33 bouts by stoppage.
Hopkins said Pacquiao and his team may be trying to send the boxing world a message by taking on a difficult challenge.
“I guess they want to come back so quick to show that he’s okay,” he said, “but to me, that’s even worse.”
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has admitted that a loss to Rios will compel him to tell the Filipino fight king to retire.
But Roach is also confident that Pacquiao will end his two-fight losing streak against Rios.
“Rios likes to exchange, stay in the pocket, but Manny is faster and hits harder. I think Manny will knock him out,” Roach told ESPN.