Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao brings big time boxing back to Malaysia this weekend for the first time since Muhammad Ali did when the Filipino boxer takes on Lucas Matthysse of Argentina.

When the fight was announced as taking place in Malaysia it raised a few eyebrows at first, as Pacquiao usually boxes in the US.

But this time around he’s decided to stage his own promotion in a country near his native Philippines.

Indeed, the relationship between his home country and Malaysia was a key part of the reason for him choosing the country for his fight this weekend.

Speaking to the world’s media, Pacquiao said:

A lot of you are probably wondering why we choose Malaysia as the venue for this fight. Aside from strengthening the friendship between our countries through sports, I want Malaysia to experience the thrill and excitement of boxing. I know that there are a lot of promising young fighters here who have potential to become world champion. We will find them, train them and make them worthy of becoming a world champion. This is part of my sports focus for the youth to focus on making them better citizens and role models and keep them away from drugs. Through our sports focus we can build bridges with our neighbors.”

The bout takes place this Sunday on ESPN plus in the US and on BoxNation in the UK.