Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios are in China on business, to promote their Nov. 24 pay-per-view bout. But that didn't stop the star boxers from doing a little sightseeing when the 23,722-mile press tour stopped in Beijing.
Trailed by a pack of media and fans, Pacquiao and Rios first stopped on Monday at the Great Wall of China, and the two raced up the steps briefly.
Pacquiao, who will meet Rios at Cotai Arena in Macau in a welterweight bout, found it difficult to make the climb up the wall.
"Now I know that I've got my work cut out for me after racing against Brandon up those steps," Pacquiao said. "He's already in good condition! This is my third visit to Beijing and it always seems so new to me. It's a great cultural experience that is saturated in history."
Later in the day, they visited Tiananmen Square and posed for photos together.
Rios joked that the traffic is Beijing is worse than the 405 freeway in Southern California, where he lives. But he marveled at the experience he's gotten early on the tour.
"I can't believe the beauty I have seen in Macau and Beijing," Rios said. "I have seen a life and culture I never imagined. It's been an incredible experience for me. The media and the fans have been wonderful. I know I take a little getting used to but they seem to understand my sense of humor. I think some of them think I'm Chinese. The only other time I fought outside the U.S. was in Mexico back in 2008, against Ricardo Dominguez, and a lot of people thought I was Chinese there, too."
Pacquiao, a member of Congress in the Philippines, hasn't fought in Asia since he defeated Oscar Larios in Manila on July 2, 2006. He said fighting in Asia will have some practical advantages for him.
Normally, he does half of his training camp in the Philippines, then flies to Hollywood, Calif., to do the rest so that he can fulfill his media obligations. This time, he'll be able to do his entire training camp in the same time zone.
"It will be nice to fight in a location where I will not have any jet lag," Pacquiao said. "Macau and the Philippines share the same time zone and the same climate. No adjustments for me this time. Since Macau is only a 90-minute flight away from the Philippines, I expect a lot more Filipinos to be in the arena for this fight."