LOS ANGELES â€“ Bob Arum didnâ€™t mince words when he talked about the importance of Manny Pacquiaoâ€™s coming fight against Brandon Rios.
â€œThis is a very important fight for him to win,â€ the legendary promoter told The STAR from his Las Vegas home the other night.
Arum said Pacquiao, coming off back-to-back losses, really canâ€™t afford a third straight.
Arum said it could mean everything for the Filipino boxing icon.
â€œIt will certainly hurt him if he loses this fight,â€ said Arum of the welterweight showdown set Nov. 23 (Nov. 24 in Manila) at The Venetian Hotel in Macau.
And what if Pacquiao does?
â€œIt may signify the end. It will be very devastating for him,â€ Arum, in his slow, familiar voice added.
Pacquiao is not too old at 34 but has gone through a lot inside the ring. He has fought guys much bigger and heavier than him and took their best shots.
But itâ€™s the knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last December that may have inflicted the biggest damage â€“ if it really did.
Pacquiao went down in the third round after taking a sweeping right to the side of the head and sent Marquez down in the fifth.
He had Marquez in deep trouble in the sixth. And as Pacquiao went for the kill in the closing seconds of the round he ran smack into the Mexicanâ€™s big right.
He was knocked out and lay motionless on the canvas. It was a pretty scary sight.
Arum said the fight against Rios gives Pacquiao the opportunity to prove that his loss to Marquez is just a loss, a result of a lucky punch and a thing of the past.
And itâ€™s not going to be easy.
â€œBrandon Rios is a very, very tough kid. And heâ€™s very confident he can beat Manny,â€ said Arum from the other end of the line.
â€œManny has to fight a good, intelligent and hard fight like when he fought (Miguel) Cotto and (Oscar dela Hoya) Dela Hoya and (Antonio) Margarito,â€ he added.
Thatâ€™s what Arum wants.