By NICK GIONGCO
Brandon Rios and his entourage are on their way to Macau, the quaint former Portuguese colony where he expects to be crowned as boxing’s newest star on Nov. 24.
Rios was of course joined by his chief trainer Robert Garcia, ex-Pacquiao conditioning coach Alex Ariza and a few other with key roles in next week’s clash with Manny Pacquiao.
Top Rank publicity head Lee Samuel is also on board on an EVA Air flight from Los Angeles that will take them to Taipeh and finally to Macau.
“We will be in Macau early Wednesday morning,” said Samuels.
The decision to go to Macau this early is obvious.
Owing to the time zone, Rios wants to get used to the local conditions as soon as possible.
Rios, 27, has promised to host Pacquiao’s retirement party when they collide at the Cotai Arena, a 15,000-seat venue within the sprawling premises of The Venetian.
Pacquiao, who will be three weeks shy off his 35th birthday by the time he enters the ring, has vowed not to follow the script being laid out by his brash Mexican-American rival.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, is in the final phase of his preparation in General Santos City under Freddie Roach, who predicts a smashing return to the spotlight for the revered Filipino southpaw.
Team Pacquiao is set to fly to Macau on a private plane from General Santos City on Monday.
Sands China, which is staging the card in partnership with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., plans to put on a show for fight fans once the cast is completed in Macau.
A deluge of Pacquiao supporters from Manila are attending the fight and flight bookings are hard to come by especially in the days leading to Nov. 24.