Floyd Mayweather may have firmly established himself as the best pound for pound fighter on the planet, but when it comes to offering entertainment he is not even a contender. That award goes to Manny Pacquiao because when the Filipino steps inside the ring you simply never know what is going to happen.
Pacquiao has consistently been involved in ‘Fight of the Year’ contenders since bursting onto the scene with a 2003 win over Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera. And browsing through his back catalogue you will also come across the odd ‘Round of the Year’ and ‘Knockout of the Year’.
Whereas ‘The One’ proved to be no more than a one-sided demolition, Pacquiao’s next fight against American boxer Brandon Rios has all the hallmarks of a boxing match which will be being talked about for years to come.
Rios is coming off two ‘Fight of the Year’ performances of his own, with back-and-forth wars against Mike Alvarado which took both boxers from the periphery and thrust them firmly into the limelight.
Whereas Alvarado decided to try and make the rematch a more tactical affair, keeping his distance and trying to avoid the frantic exchanges which punctuated their first thrilling encounter, Rios was constantly pushing to turn the fight into another toe-to-toe war.
This attitude won him plaudits, as well as a lucrative Macau match-up with Pacquiao, and he is likely to come out all guns blazing once again at the Cotai Arena on Nov. 23. Thirteen of his last 14 wins have come inside the distance and Rios definitely won’t be looking to play it safe and win a decision against the ten time world champion.
Pacquiao’s performances have lacked a little consistency of late, but people forget that he was in the process of picking apart Juan Manuel Marquez before becoming careless and launching himself face first into a perfectly timed right hand from the Mexican.
Had Pacquiao been more patient, he would have surely stopped Marquez for the first time and talk of the Filipino’s demise is completely premature. He’s always been a boxer who takes risks, that’s what makes his fights so popular with the fans, and on this occasion the gamble did not pay off.
At the age of 34, Pacquiao is not about to change, he will take chances against Rios just like he did against Marquez, and when you throw the dice in boxing anything can happen. If anything, he will be more motivated to go all out looking for a stoppage win with the ridiculous decision loss to Timothy Bradley still fresh in his mind.
This will play right into the hands of his opponent because Rios brings one punch knock out power to the table, something he has proven time and time again with twenty-three knockouts in 31 wins. Pacquiao himself is no slouch in this department with thirty-eight of his 54 victories coming inside the distance.
One factor which will be very much in Rios’s favor coming into this fight is the weight. He will be moving up to 147 lbs (67 kilogram) for the first time and will not need to dry himself out before stepping on the scales which means that he can approach the fight with uninhibited aggression.
Pacquiao is as experienced as they come in boxing but he has never backed down from a brawl, and Rios’s camp feel with some justification that when it comes to a toe-to-toe war in the center of the squared circle it is their man who is the better brawler.
That’s why a 300 dollars bet for Rios looks like excellent value for money. Pacquiao’s credentials as the only eight division world champion in history understandably make him the favorite, but the Filipino’s traditional approach to fighting could play right into the hands of his unsung opponent.
If Pacquiao does decide to test his mettle against the American by trading with him blow for blow, and absolutely no one in boxing believes he won’t then Rios has an excellent chance to end an era by beating the Filipino into retirement and establish himself as one of the pound for pound greats in the process.