Pac Is Back: Manny Manhandles Rios

By Robert Ecksel on November 23, 2013
Pac Is Back: Manny Manhandles Rios
Pacquiao exorcised the ghosts of Bradley and Marquez in Macau. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) returned from the dead to manhandle Brandon Rios (32-2-1, 23 KOs) over 12 one-sided rounds…

Saturday night at the Venetian-Macau Resort Hotel in Macao, China, Manny Pacquiao, from General Santos City, Philippines, returned from the dead to manhandle Brandon Rios, from Oxnard, California, over 12 one-sided rounds.

Fighting out of the red corner in royal blue trunks trimmed in red, Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) came into this fight with much to prove. After losing his last two fights, a questionable decision to Timothy Bradley and a decisive knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez, many wondered just how much Manny had left.

It was up to Rios (31-2-1, 23 KOs), fighting out of the blue corner in green trunks with red and white trim, to answer that question. Bam Bam was bigger than Pacquiao. He was younger than Pacquiao. He was presumably hungrier than Pacquiao. But their respective skills sets are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

The first round set the table for all that followed. Manny looked like the Manny of old. He was fast. His punches were accurate. He was landing combinations upstairs and down. Pacquiao would hit and move, hit and move, firing his left hand lead from a southpaw stance seemingly at will. Rios did some nice work on the inside. But some nice work won’t win a round, not against a whirlwind like Pacquiao. Manny landed 20 punches in round one to 5 for Brandon Rios.

Pacquiao dominated round two. He landed a multi-punch combination and Rios countered with two body shots. Manny responded with a left to the head and a right to the body, followed by an uppercut. Pacquiao’s speed was posing a problem. He landed a three-punch combination. Rios landed a combination of his own. But was Manny was outboxing, outfoxing and outlanding Bam Bam. He was quick as lightning. He was looking good.

Between rounds Freddie Roach told Manny, “Relax, relax, relax. That was beautiful. Don’t get into fighting yet. Keep boxing this guy.”

After two rounds, Pacquiao had landed 42 of 83 power shots to 18 of 43 for Rios.

Pacquiao let his hands go even more in round three. He was potshotting Rios, who was determined to land a big punch that would turn things around. They were trading leather and throwing bombs, with Pacquiao doing most of the damage. But Pacquiao was a moving target and hard to hit, whereas Rios, not known for his speed, was a sitting duck.

It started falling apart for Rios in rounds five and six. Manny landed a straight left at the start of the fifth that was the best punch of the night so far. He followed that up with hard lefts to the body and another combo upstairs. Rios had begun following Manny around the ring in the hope of landing something. His failure to cut off the ring, or to even attempt cutting off the ring, didn’t reflect well on his trainer and training. Pacquiao, by contrast, upped his workrate. Two- and three-punch combinations were now four- and five-punch combinations. He was hitting with authority. He was in the zone. Rios was bleeding from a cut outside his left eye. He was beginning to bust up.

At the halfway point, Pacquiao had landed 139 of 394. Rios had landed 76 of 269, and the Rios corner, for good reason, was sounding panicky. “You’ve got to throw more than one punch at a time,” Garcia told him. “Move side to side.” That was good advice, advice that Rios ignored.

If Manny wasn’t in total control of the fight after six, he was in total control from that point on. Rios’ eyes were swelling. He was bleeding. All the lumps and bumps he received were misshaping his already asymmetrical face. While watching Pacquiao landing dynamic combination after dynamic combination, words like paint job, wipeout and shutout came to mind. Rios never quit and never thought of quitting, but his habit of smiling when he gets hit diminished with the number of times he got hit. Garcia tried to cheer Rios on by telling him that Pacquiao was “tired already,” but it was no more effective than Custer telling his men that victory was at hand, and no more believable.

Rios was slow at the start of the fight and even slower as the fight drew to a close. He was maybe still hoping a Hail Mary would land and turn the tide in his favor, but he was hoping against hope. Manny was on his game. He was superlative. Between rounds 11 and 12 Garcia asked Rios, “How are you feeling?” and implored him to keep trying, but it was way too little and way too late to make any difference whatsoever.

The judges had it 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110 for Pacquiao.

During the post-fight interview, Pacquiao was as gracious as usual.

“He gave a good fight,” Manny said about Rios. “If a knockout comes it will come. I try to finish the fight but my opponent is very tough. So I give credit to him. He hit me with a good solid punch and I was hurt. I think it was the fifth round. But my time is not over yet. Rios is not an easy opponent. He’s a good fighter and a strong fighter and I consider this fight as one of the toughest fights in my career. He took a lot of punches, but he still stand up and fight back.”

When asked about the loss, Rios said, “It’s part of boxing. Manny did a great job. He’s very fast. Power-wise I didn’t feel that much, but his quickness did bother me a little bit. Other than that, I’m good man. I thought I was a four-round fighter, but I go through the 12 rounds. I fought one of the greatest boxers in the world beside Mayweather. He’s very fast, very awkward.”

When Rios says, “I fought one of the greatest boxers in the world beside Mayweather,” I’m willing to take him at his word.

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  1. kid vegas 06:06pm, 12/01/2013

    Pas is back and his options are superb even if one included jail time for “tax evasion.”

  2. Eddie. V 01:05pm, 11/29/2013

    Pacman had an easy nite with Rios and I also felt he carried Rios the last 4rds, I felt he could have knocked him out and choose to just carry him especially the last rd. you can see him holding back.

  3. Eddie. V 11:26am, 11/29/2013

    I thought Pacman handle Rios easily and carried him for the last four Rds not wanting to hurt Rios.

  4. Ted 03:55pm, 11/25/2013

    It’s highly possible IMO A guy can get old before our very eyes.

  5. Galvar 12:45pm, 11/25/2013

    Thanks for the response Mr. The Sneak.  My friends and I agree he looked a lil “scurred” to leap in there with the bombs but I think he substituted that with something I’ve never really seen him do and that’s box.  I really like that pop, pop, dip to the right move he kept doing.  But now that he’s replaced the bombs with precision strafing (I know that’s probably an oxymoron) did or will Manny lose more of his appeal?  I really hope not.  I like the destroyer version of Manny but since I prefer boxers to brawlers, this change is welcomed treat.  Can you imagine how crazy it would be if he and Mayweather actually fought and Manny out boxes Floyd?!

  6. Ted 12:02pm, 11/25/2013

    No one knocks Rios out.

  7. Pete The Sneak 09:20am, 11/25/2013

    Galvar, certainly not wise and all knowing here (that’s Ted Sares Territory). However, I think that’s a great question. My opinion is that perhaps in this particular fight, it may have been a combination of both. Rios is one tough, stubborn, lumbering SOB. It was not going to be an easy task for Pac Man to have put him down. Also, if you look at the fight closely, Pac was being a bit more apprehensive than what we were accustomed to seeing with him previously. There was no doubt in my mind that despite his boxing beautifully, Pac was extremely wary of Rios counters and I think that was the JMM effect. Can he knock the bigger guys out? Perhaps not this version of Pac. But the way he boxed on Saturday, maybe he won’t need to…Another thing I noted about Pac Man, was his complaining to the ref more than I ‘d ever seen him. In fact, there was one instance when he was looking at the ref and complained and left himself wide open, whereas Rios took a shot at him. He was lucky that Rios didn’t get lucky there…Peace.

  8. Galvar 08:51am, 11/25/2013

    Is it because Manny lost punching power or is because Rios just doesn’t go down.  There were a lot of “oh damn what a punch!” moments I thought in the fight.  Clean left hands snapping Rios’ head back.  If it were any other fighter would Manny have knocked him out?  Does Manny have enough power to knock the bigger guys out?  I thought way back then that Manny could hurt Floyd if he were able to get pass the shoulder roll but now not so sure…  What do you wise and all knowing people of think?

  9. Mike Schmidt 07:38pm, 11/24/2013

    Ha Fearless Editor checks on in—there you go click on the Fearless Editor comment to Donny Lalonde—we got the damned best writer/Editor around gents-although he does contrary to one of those rights amendments edit a lot of my cussing out of the writeups—what is one to say!!

  10. raxman 07:33pm, 11/24/2013

    Darrell - I think, and i’ll say I base this on absolutely zero fact, first knowledge or even use of tarot cards - what I think is based entirely on my gut - but I think billy dib doesn’t get pushed enough in his gym. keep in mind I have nothing to support my argument but I imagine a scene of loads of hangers on cheering every jab he lands in sparing, hooting at every combo thrown on the pads. watching this fight I felt the same as I did in the first one - dib just didn’t throw enough punches. granted he was 100times better in this rematch, despite being stopped this time out - but I think the stoppage could’ve been largely due to the fact that the pace of this fight was so much greater. dib improved, but with proper prep so did EG (remember he was a last minute replacement first time out). the thing with the punches though in both fights dib would throw 2 Gradovich 4. dib 3 Gradovich 5 or 6 or even 7 punch combos. Billy Dib was courageous though, i’ll give him that but he just wasn’t accurate enough (as you say should’ve got lower coming and fired straighter shots). having said all that Gradovich appears a very very good fighter.

  11. Robert Ecksel 07:03pm, 11/24/2013

    Schmidty, here’s the link:

  12. Mike Schmidt 06:06pm, 11/24/2013

    Fearless Editor I can’t get a link to the Donny Lalonde article to the post—help me out if you would Sir so it available to Irish—Enjoy your nights Sir—I am just finishing the first Chapter of “Friday Night Fighter” the life story of Gasper “Indio” Ortega—GREAT BOOK. Bronson is by the fire “sleep snarling” so it is hard to concentrate!!!!

  13. MIKE SCHMIDT 06:03pm, 11/24/2013

    Irish Frankie thanks—four more weeks without working out—driving me nuts but that’s what ya get for an operation near the old nuts!!! Go to the search space top right hand corner of and google in DONNY LALONDE—scroll three articles down and there ya go “GOLDEN DAYS DONNY LALONDE’ MARCH 28, 2012. Great guy. Still remember the very first day he was in the gym in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. Raw but wow what power he was cranking off the right hand hitting the heavy bag. Incredible guy—only had about 11 amateur fights and then turned pro—Donny would not, could not, spell, listen or adhere to the phrase “you can’t do that.” For Donny anything was possible. At one point early in his career he and his brother (they did their own self promotion thing in the early years up in Canada before the wonderful Dave Wolf moved him) decided what the hell they should see where they graded- jumped in a car, no notice, drove down Indy way, walked into the gym of the reigning fearsome punching Light Heavy Champ Marvin Johnson (whole gym full of black guys—Donny says you should have seen the look on everybody’s face, including his brother!!!) introduced themselves to see if they could go a few rounds—and that they did!!!!  You’re right though Irish-I gotta do a follow up on Donny for sure. Always a pleasure hearing/reading your posts—adios for now.

  14. Darrell 05:17pm, 11/24/2013

    Agree entirely raxman…..I took more interest in the undercard & was mightily impressed by both Gradovich & a more than game Billy Dib.  Grad timed a lot of great punches & fought at a relentless pace which Dib, to his credit, really matched it up well with him early on.  I thought Dib should’ve ducked in & out a bit more & put his punches straight up the pipe a little more… saying that he had a pretty good gameplan & mixed up some good boxing with some well timed rough housing/stalling tactics.  Gradovich though just soaked it all up & came back with more, & got more accurate with those nicely timed punches.

    Eastern Euro’s ay…..Hordes of good fighters pouring out of the steppes.  Even by way of Mexico!  Ha.

  15. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 04:24pm, 11/24/2013

    Mike Schmidt-Hope you are on track for a full and speedy recovery…..which reminds me….still waiting for a Mike Schmidt article on Donny LaLonde….man he was fun!. I was totally bummed out on my long ago mini vacation to San Diego as I sat in that motel room and watched him lose to Leonard….still…. all of his other great outings more than made up for that one…in my book anyway..

  16. Mike Schmidt 03:40pm, 11/24/2013

    Well stay tuned Rax—it doesn’t matter where you live because if Floyd does the “European” tour (think Ali vs London etc) and fights Khan across the pond you will hear Bronson the Coyote Shep dog and herr Schmidt howling all the way to the moon!!!!!!

  17. raxman 03:34pm, 11/24/2013

    Mike Schmidt - I’d forgotten the clottey fight. oh god no. the clottey fight made this one seem like hagler hearns. clottey vs pac that was a boring fight.  clottey was another one arum fed to pac despite clottey coming off a loss (as was rios and mosley). imagine the flack mayweather would get if he picked an opponent that had lost his last fight (btw the last time he did that was vs Judah)

  18. Mike Schmidt 03:23pm, 11/24/2013

    Well said Rax, well said. Post fight video Brandon made comment he did not want to open up in spots, had to be smart,or he would get knocked out. As it was he succumbed to a repetitive round by round beat down. Having said that I did not find this as boring as Clottey- kept waiting to see if Manny would tire, take large portions of minutes off in the round and let Brandon back into it. Didn’t happen!! He was in great condition and was doing something alot more like he used to do a few years back- he was hurting Rios to the body and wearing him down. Adios

  19. raxman 02:41pm, 11/24/2013

    boring fight. I should’ve just downloaded pac vs margarito and watched that again. at least margarito actually had a crack when he got manny on the ropes. as I’ve always thought(and said Ted) rios is just a tough guy banger - he’s like a B+ level fighter in with an A+ in pac. I didn’t think he had any chance of winning but I assumed he’d give it a real shot and perhaps have a punchers chance. instead?.....well he didn’t so much go out on his shield but behind it.

  20. Mike Schmidt 02:29pm, 11/24/2013

    Oh and P.S. I thought Max Kellerman was being very, shall we say judicial and polite in his response to Brandon in the post fight interview.

  21. Mike Schmidt 02:27pm, 11/24/2013

    I was just looking at Ted Sares top pound for pound article on this site. It will be very very interesting a few years down the road to see where Manny places in these type of p4p reviews. Of course Manny is not done yet and based on last night it looks like a few more years to add to the legacy if he so chooses!!!!

  22. Steven 01:08pm, 11/24/2013

    Nice bit of writing and only one immature crappy biased comment. Good work. As for the crappy comment there are loads of other sites where your trash would be appreciated.

    Pac is one of the top FIGHTERS in history. Class by the truck load. That should come with the champion territory. However in these days when thug life is a fashion statement it’s hard to find. Thank God for the real hard core fans who give unbiased objective comments about the combatants in the worlds toughest sport.

    Happy Thanksgiving fellas!  The rest of you, well Black Friday is coming. Try not to hurt anyone.

  23. Mike Schmidt 11:25am, 11/24/2013

    Manny WAS superb and Rios IS NOT superb. In the ring last night was a great great fighter against a good good fighter. The second Alvarado fight exposed Rios in many ways; an inability to effectively cut off the ring and, at times, mentally not even attempting to do so. An inability, or not caring of, movement of head as opposed to eating up shots with a high hand guard which effectively puts him in a position of not being able to fire back quickly…..I think the real challenge at this stage for both Mayweather and Pacman is each other and that is not disparaging of their opponents. They are simply that much higher than the field. As for Rios—he needs to either start learning more to his sweet science or as Pete the Sneak comments, his boxing afterlife may not be as sweet as it should be. An iron jaw, an iron will, but there are extra components needed- not his time clearly at the level of last night.

  24. brand vargas 11:16am, 11/24/2013

    In all my years of being a fight and sports fan,I’ve never been biased in my assessment and appreciation of our fighters skills and abilities when matched against each other.I never tried to take sides favoring one fighter over the other based on their colors and nationalities.I always believed that fight fans should always remain sport fans without any nationalistic preference.We get enormous amounts of thrill watching our fighters do their best fighting each other to get fight fans like us entertained and put their own safety and lives on the line in doing so.I admired Rios courage in relentlessly meeting Pacman head on despite of being violently battered and outmatched both in speed and skill departments.But I give credit where credit is due…I can’t downplay Pacman’s display of superior skill and pugilistic brilliance.Before the fight,a lot of people gave Rios a fairly good chance of getting an upset based on his previous performances,level of skill,youth and desire.He only got one loss and was considered a top tier fighter based on that account.Nobody had ever done to Rios what Pac did to him during the fight and to downplay pac’s performance is simply denying him of the credit he so deserves.

  25. Mike Schmidt 11:09am, 11/24/2013

    Manny and Mayweather are rapidly running out of viable pay per view, upward ratings, options. I don’t know any serious boxing observers that picked either Rios or Canelo, respectively, to win against the two.  The networks, as well as we in the media, succumb to the usual round of hyperbole and so it goes. Irish Frankie I am beginning to wonder if even old philanthropist George and his 70 billion dollars could get these two in the ring!!!!!! One thing is certain; neither Bob or Richard did, could, would when it really really would have been something special. And yes Sir, they ain’t no George by George!!!! Soros that is ( did not want to leave any openings to that superb counter punching Clarence of George of our!!!!)

  26. Pete The Sneak 10:46am, 11/24/2013

    Well, this fight went pretty much the way the writers and posters had predicted. Probably the biggest surprise was that it went the full 12 rounds, as most (including myself) had perhaps thought a Pac man KO or stoppage would have occurred. Still, Pac totally outclassed Rios, who at times looked amateurish trying to counter Manny. There were so many swings and misses by Rios you would have thought he was going up against Clayton Kershaw. Congrats to Pac, who once again demonstrated both his warrior spirit as well as his classiness and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) agree with your assessment of Bam Bam’s retirement hopefully coming sooner than later. I’ve been saying the same thing bout his slurred speech for a while…Peace.

  27. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:02am, 11/24/2013

    Memo to Bob Arum: Do you think you’re going to live forever…’re no George Soros…only evil fux like him live forever….and regardless of what some say you’re not in his league…..not by a long shot. The clock is ticking… forget Bradley and Marquez…why?....because a lot of PPV buying fans like myself have….that’s why… wild and crazy guy you! It should be all about Manny and Mayweather in Macau all the time and no it doesn’t have to marinate until late 2014. It’s up to you….do you want to be sitting at ringside with your butt encased in those nice cushy Depends under garments when it finally happens….or….up there floating a pink fluffy cloud….tough choice I know.

  28. Koolz 09:22am, 11/24/2013

    Pacman Super Master Class display!

  29. FrankinDallas 08:59am, 11/24/2013

    Man…Rios is really slurring his words.
    Time for a brain scan and retirement.

  30. Ted 08:51am, 11/24/2013

    Manny was on his game. He was superlative says it all.

  31. tman 05:28am, 11/24/2013

    Now that Manny is back to form it’s time to finish off tim Bradley.

  32. Mike Schmidt 04:39am, 11/24/2013

    Anti-Duckie (great label by the way!!) and NWO great points—at one stage in the 12th round Manny actually winked at Rios and touched gloves. Interestingly Rios tried one last hard flurry and Manny fired back a combination after that and then finished the fight with CLASS AND DIGNITY WHICH IS SOMETHING SORELY MISSING FROM MANY TOP END BOXERS TODAY PRE AND POST FIGHT—CONGRATS TO THE CONGRESSMAN!!!!!

  33. Victor Odarve 03:07am, 11/24/2013

    Manny, as expected, will win. It was because of his speed and power. It is not surprised why Bambam became a punching bag.

  34. nwo 02:33am, 11/24/2013

    pac has really matured and he choose the hardest part.. he knew the fight is in the bag.. showed mercy just like the margarito fight.. he wants to transcend the sport and himself.. he really is the ambassador.. the sport has never seen a fighter like this.. he has all the tools yet chooses the most ironic part.. he knew some would criticize but the big picture is what he is up to.. congrats manny

    someday his work will be emulated

  35. Anti-Duckie 02:19am, 11/24/2013

    by Koorakot NgBayan:
    Manny gave Rios mercy as he held back on the 12th. Bambams back on the corner, Manny steps back in the center of the ring. He couldve finished Rios there. He’s always been this way. If he really wants to kill a guy, he can. But why do that, thats whats his thinking. Hats off to you Pacman. Nice guys always wins.

  36. Darrell 11:19pm, 11/23/2013

    Well, Rios was hand picked to do exactly this….allow Pacquiao to look great & be so slow of hand & foot that he would rarely tag him, flush or otherwise.  Rios has got to be the slowest “top” fighter doing the rounds…surely!  He’s a tough guy though.

    The “Russian Mexican” Gradovich was the most impressive fighter on the night.  He timed some excellent right hands & was too physically strong as well as being super conditioned, he looked like he could fight all weekend.  Big ups to Dib too, he came to win & was doing a decent job early too but Gradovich was relentless & got stronger & stronger.

    Felix Verdejo is a sparkling talent & should be a future star.  Zhou Zhiming had his best fight as a professional.

  37. Mike Schmidt 10:48pm, 11/23/2013

    PS Fearless Editor—Frankieee the Bear goes to 13-0 on big fights and called it about bullseye in “The Rise of the Pacquiao Phoenix” article—yep and adios…

  38. El Bastardo Magnifico 10:40pm, 11/23/2013

    Outcoached, outclassed, outpunched. out out out. Not sure what Brandon’s “game plan” was other than to tell Max after the fight he was surprised by Manny’s speed. Now that surprise surprise is a surprise to me. Da Mr. Brandon what did you think you were going to get- some slow moving punching bag standing in front of you. This fight plan was as dimwitted as Canelo’s in its painful, and I mean facial painful, obvious mark of failure. I guess the plan was that old joker about letting the guy wear himself out by letting him punch you in the face until he got tired!!! PACMAN FOUGHT SMART, FAST, HARD PUNCHING, AND LOOKED GREAT.

  39. sonny bales 10:31pm, 11/23/2013

    Glad Pac won but why to do you always have to say so-and-so is fighting out of the blue/red corner, etc. It is useless affectation that is beneath you.

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