Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios
Every cloud has a silver lining. The good thing about the uncivil war between Top Rank and Golden Boy is that while steadfastly refusing to do business with each other, they are both trying to top (if not topple) their worthy opposition.
No sooner have the effusions following Mayweather-Guerrero subsided, than Top Rank has announced that Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will be on Nov. 23 at The Venetian in Macau, China, against none other than Brandon Rios.
Pacquiao has been counted out, not only by Kenny Bayless on Dec. 8 when he fought Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight, but by scores of writers and fight fans. Some blamed Jesus, a Roman Empire specialty, for causing Manny to lose focus. Others blamed the distractions that go hand-in-hand with political ambition. Few, however, gave credit where credit is due, which goes to the aptly nicknamed Dinamita.
But Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), who presumably lost his last two fights, if one is willing to concede that Timothy Bradley defeated him, has a chance to redeem himself, against an opponent who is truly worthy of the name.
Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) is about as fan-friendly as a fighter can be. He’s the quintessential do-or-die pugilist, a veritable kamikaze in the square ring. He’s a come-forward fighter, a dyed-in-the-wool brawler, which plays to Pacquiao’s strengths.
It’s easy to say that this is a must-win fight for Pacquiao, but he remains hugely popular, despite his recent setbacks, perhaps even more so in Asia than in the U.S. If Manny can take Bam Bam’s punch, and it won’t take long before we find out, he’ll be back in the saddle again.