Boxer and congressman Manny Pacquiao dedicates upcoming fight to his countrymen affected by Typhoon Haiyan and promises to visit families personally with more aid.
MACAU, CHINA (NOVEMBER 19, 2013)(REUTERS) - Filipino boxer and congressman Manny Pacquiao arrived in Macau on Tuesday (November 19) ahead of his fight against American Brandon Rios in a 12-round welterweight clash on November 24.
"I'm more motivated for this fight, to win this fight because what happened in thePhilippines. My countrymen, I want to make them happy. To bring honour to my country," said Pacquiao after walking the red carpet with his coach Freddy Roach.
It will be Pacquiao's first fight since he was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquezlast December, a defeat that prompted many to suggest the 34-year-old should retire after being left unconscious, face down on the canvas by his Mexican rival.
However, Pacquiao, winner of world titles at eight different weight divisions, has ignored the calls to quit and after the lengthy break will fight at the Cotai Arena in The Venetian Macao-Resort and Hotel in the Chinese gambling enclave.
"Yes, that's right the fight on Sunday is very special and it gives me more motivation to win the fight. And this fight is dedicated to all the families affected by the typhoon in the Philippines. And thank you also for the government of China for helping our people, our country," said Pacquiao.
The 34-year-old said that he was already providing relief to the afflicted areas and was looking forward to personally visit affected families, hinting that some of the prize money would be spent on aiding victims.
"Yes I have a plan for that. And even if the fight is not yet done, I've already sent my people there to give them relief goods. They are now in the area giving relief goods. But my plan is to visit them personally and bring more help for them."
Dozens of boxing fans, mainly from the Philippines, turned out to welcome Pacquaio saying that him winning would be a great boost to the nation.
"We know that Pacquiao was a guy with a helping hand. Maybe after he wins he will go into Tacloban to help these people. Pacquiao is good," said Arnold Dimalfrom Angeles City in the Philippines who was in Macau to see Sunday's fight.
More than a week after Typhoon Haiyan killed at least 3,633 with tree-snapping winds and tsunami-like waves, the aid effort was still patchy.
President Benigno Aquino, caught off guard by the scale of the disaster, has been criticized for the slow pace of aid distribution and unclear estimates of casualties, especially in Tacloban, capital of hardest-hit Leyte province.
The number of people made homeless by the storm rose to 1.9 million, up from 900,000, the United Nations' humanitarian agency said. In Tacloban, at least 56,000 people face unsanitary conditions, according to the United Nations' migration agency.