Manny Pacquiao dedicates fight to typhoon victims, but won't visit just yet
At least 2,300 people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in the Philippines because of Typhoon Haiyan, and boxer Manny Pacquiao, a native of the Philippines and member of the nation's House of Representatives, believes the best way to help the victims is to win his comeback fight against Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 in Macau.
So rather than visit the areas most affected by the storm, Pacquiao will continue training at General Santos in the southern Philippines.
"I really want to visit the area and personally do what I can to help our countrymen who have suffered so much in this terrible tragedy," the 34-year-old Pacquiao said in a statement. "But I'm in deep training for a crucial fight so I regret I cannot go.
"I will send help to those who need it the most, and I enjoin all of you to pray for our country and people in these trying times."
Pacquiao is 54-5-2 with 38 knockouts in his career, but two of the losses came in his last two fights — a split decision to Timothy Bradley last June and a knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez in December.
Trainer Freddie Roach persuaded Pacquiao not to compromise his preparations for the upcoming bout, but Roach granted him some time off to assist the recover efforts remotely.
"While he's focused on the fight, obviously it's a distraction because he cares about his people," Roach said in a teleconference on Wednesday. "We talk about it in the gym. He is concerned about it, yes, but he is pretty much on track for the fight.
Pacquiao's advisor, Michael Koncz, told the Associated Press the fighter hopes to visit parts of the Philippines after the fight.
"Manny's desire was to go to that area and to visit them and lift the spirits," Koncz said. "But we have the most important fight of his career. His heart and prayers go out to the survivors and the victims' families. Absolutely, he is dedicating this fight to the victims of this."VIDEO: Manny Pacquiao greatest hits