Pacquiao-Rios Predictions

By Boxing News on November 22, 2013
Pacquiao-Rios Predictions
This is what Boxing.com's writers expect to see when Manny Pacquiao meets Brandon Rios.

Another Pacquiao loss, especially after the one-punch knockout that separated him from his senses, would put an end to his reign as a marquee fighter…

Saturday night at the Venetian-Macau Resort Hotel in Macao, China, Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs), from General Santos City, Philippines, fights Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs), from Oxnard, California, in a fight broadcast live on HBO pay-per-view. The fight is not for a title, at least no title anyone recognizes or cares about. This fight is about bragging rights. This fight is about survival. This fight is about fighting. Both men are coming off losses, Pacquiao to Juan Manuel Marquez and Rios to Mike Alvarado The younger, bigger, possibly fresher Rios has his eye on future paydays. If he defeats Pacquiao, boxing’s doors will fly wide open. Pacquiao, by contrast, has a future already mapped out and it includes nothing less than the presidency of the Philippines. Rios doesn’t stand in the way of that inevitability. He is slow. He is also one-dimensional. But Rios is rugged, comes to fight, and is convinced he can win. Another Pacquiao loss, especially after the one-punch knockout that separated him from his senses, would shock no one. It would, however, would put an end to his reign as a marquee fighter. Are we about to witness the passing of the torch? Or will Pacquiao’s flame reignite while the world watches? This is what Boxing.com’s writers expect to see when Manny Pacquiao meets Brandon Rios.

J. Fredrick Baptiste: “Much has been said about what remains of Manny Pacquiao. Fight fans still cringe at the most violent right hand thrown since Thomas Hearns eviscerated the fearsome Roberto Duran in two rounds, for nothing so defines the brutality and science of the sport as that perfectly timed punch that befalls even the most formidable of pugilists. But save for that flash knockdown in the third round, Pacquiao was far and exceedingly more dominant against the bulked up Juan Manuel Marquez than in any of their previous encounters. He befuddled Marquez with head movement and feints, and was well on his way to mounting the ropes in victory. But, alas one false move multiplied by one of the most intelligent counterpunchers in boxing and what was so very sure is turned on its head, literally. That being said, Manny Pacquiao is not done. Brandon Rios is an ambitious, even dangerous undertaking following the worst moment of his career, but Rios is also made to order for Pacquiao. Barring some new and exciting gear, like moving his head and actually boxing, it is my estimation that Rios will experience a fate similar to that of Ricky Hatton. Styles make fights; always have, always will. The young and exciting Mr. Rios is merely a foil in Manny Pacquiao’s campaign to re-emerge as the dominant power he once was. This does not negate Brandon Rios’ worth. He will continue to have a sturdy perhaps Hall of Fame career, just as Joe Frazier and Ken Norton did following their encounters with George Foreman. Manny Pacquiao is desperate and in the twilight of his glorious career. He is campaigning for bigger game and bigger paydays and nothing will resurrect his fledgling career and chances like a dominant performance against a universally respected young fighter in his prime. Manny Pacquiao will knock out Brandon Rios inside five rounds.”

Adam Berlin: “This fight is interesting, not just because both contestants bring explosive styles into the ring, but because the fight is also shaping into a battle between veteran trainers. Freddie Roach predicts his man Pacquiao will knock out Rios. Robert Garcia predicts Bam Bam will beat down Pac Man, a victory that will cement the reputation of Garcia’s Oxnard stable. Both fighters are coming off losses. So both men, who once seemed nearly invincible, have been exposed as mere mortals. My heart is telling me to go with the brash kid Rios. At the New York City press conference held in Chinatown, Rios looked much bigger than Pacquiao, much younger than Pacquiao, and Rios was, by far, the more charismatic man. But my head is telling me to go with the quiet professional who has been there and done that. Even with a step lost, Pacquiao will move in and out of harm’s way and hurt Rios, who doesn’t possess the kind of one-punch knockout power to flatten Pac Man a la Marquez. And while my heart is with Garcia, my head tells me Roach’s fighter wins by late-round knockout.”

Cheekay Brandon: “That Pacquiao is the much better fighter (by half-a-class or better), far more experienced and fighting in a friendly environment (in Asia) is only part of the problem for Brandon Rios. Rios’ bigger issue is that he’s tailor made for Pacquiao—a plodding, straight-forward fighter who has demonstrated very little in the way of elite boxing IQ or defensive skill. Rios’ talents are many: he can transform any exchange into a potential firestorm with an array of punches from seemingly uncomfortable positions. And he obviously has knockout power. He’s young, hungry and seems to be improving. He doesn’t, however, have the speed to catch Pacquiao, and won’t be able to see Pacquiao’s blistering attack coming. He also hasn’t demonstrated adaptability, or the ability to time Pacquiao: for all of Pacquiao’s gifts, he has been solved by Juan Manuel Marquez (three times in my opinion) because Marquez has patience, and calculates Pacquiao’s sprint assaults. I expect the Pacquiao zinger-barrages to land cleanly from fairly early in the fight. Even if they don’t do one-punch damage, the punches will accumulate in a hurry, leading to a very lopsided decision. Rios isn’t damaged goods (like Margarito was at the time of his fight with Pacquiao), but will be messy in the face by round eight. From 9-12, it’ll be a challenge for the referees, or his corner, to justify letting him continue.”

Teron Briggs: “Most of the talk surrounding this fight is what does Pacman have left in the tank after suffering that violent KO loss to Marquez last year. I think it should be what kind of condition is Rios in after killing himself for years to cut excess weight and absorbing a tremendous amount of punishment from his numerous ring wars. I think Pacman is actually the fresher fighter. Rios has historically been a strong second half finisher but in the championship rounds of the second Alvarado fight the tread on his tires looked very worn. I think he puts up a game fight early, using his high punch output and sheer will to trouble a somewhat reluctant Pacman. However, Pac will use nifty footwork to keep Rios off balance and his superior speed and power will allow him to win by late round stoppage. I see a ninth round TKO.”

Jay Bulger: “I like Brandon Rios. He’s a tremendous fighter and personality. Rios will try his best to land another Marquez miracle shot, and who knows, maybe Pac Man will get caught. It’s possible. The real question is just how affected Pacquiao was by that Marquez punch. However, Rios is too straight forward for Pacquiao’s polyrhythms, and at the end of the day, I just don’t see him withstanding Pacquiao’s everything. Pac Man KOs Rios in 9.”

Mike Casey: “Ten months on from the chilling Marquez knockout and how much does Manny Pac have left? My next question might sound impertinent and premature, but how much does Brandon Rios have left? Brandon is a thrilling fighter, you won’t get too much of an argument on that point. But boy oh boy, does he do it the hard way. Like so many of today’s boxers, he is programmed to believe that every fight has to be a war, which makes for a short career in general. Rios was favored by most to repeat his TKO victory over Mike Alvarado but dropped a unanimous decision in another punishing fight. Pacquiao has been a whirlwind throughout his career, but he has been smart and hasn’t really taken too much of a beating over the years. He is certainly past his best now, but that Marquez bomb really was a special bolt from the blue that might well have stiffened anyone. Assuming that Manny didn’t fall apart all at once that night, he will know too much for Rios and win by unanimous decision or late TKO.”

George Thomas Clark: “Manny Pacquiao, an established welterweight slugger, is taking on Brandon Rios, who lost his most recent fight as a junior welterweight. Pacquiao and his advisors don’t consider Rios dangerous at 147 pounds and are thinking about Floyd Mayweather. That’s still the most attractive fight in the world, if Manny’s still got it. He was leading his stirring battle against Juan Manuel Marquez until the newly-muscular Marquez nuked him. That won’t happen against Rios. Pacquiao will win by technical knockout in the middle or latter rounds.”

The Fight Film Collector: “The deciding factor in this match is Manny Pacquiao’s physical and mental health. As has been stated by many, two years ago the result of a fight with a Brandon Rios would have been a foregone conclusion, and the fight even viewed perhaps as a mismatch. Not so today. We know Manny’s skills have been in decline for some time, but at this point how much? Can he achieve the level of even the Bradley fight? Did the Marquez knockout and the Bradley mis-decision erode his confidence? Fighters delude themselves into believing that conditioning trumps age. I have no doubt that Pacquiao will be in great shape, but Pacquiao and his team, like the rest of us, won’t really know how much Manny has left until the fight is underway. A recent story on ESPN reported, ‘Manny Pacquiao’s trainer says the Filipino boxer will contemplate retirement if he fails to perform well against Brandon Rios this month.’ If true, it’s a very telling statement. A champion entering the ring with any vision less than total victory is putting himself in jeopardy. A healthy Pacquiao wins. But should Rios prevail, or Manny deliver anything less than a superb performance, then Pacquiao should let this be his encore fight.”

Mohummad Humza Elahi: “Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios need each other. Both fighters believe they can win. Both believe they can pull off the victory. But Rios will emerge as the brave contender who gave it his all should he lose, whereas it would likely spell doom for Pac Man if a third consecutive strike was to be marked next to his name. Although some give Rios a slim to none chance, I’m leaning towards almost a 50/50. A fight in an exotic location, an all-time high payday, underdog status and a (near) drama free preparation means Bam Bam is poised to ruin the party by virtue of simply having next to none of the pressure on him. Rios is a top quality opponent in my eyes; not good enough to be named with the elites in and around 147 lbs. but someone to be wary of. Rios doesn’t mind getting hit. His thirst for all-out war cannot be underestimated. Pacquiao, by contrast, will look to start slow, assess what level of risk Rios brings and adjust accordingly. He’ll flash hooks and straight rights to gauge his reflexes before settling down and frustrating his opponent from the outside. Pac Man could actually make it a bit of a boring fight in order to draw Rios to him, after which we’ll see shades of the Filipino Warrior of old, complete with lightning quick combinations, a fluid outside/inside game, while tagging Rios hard and often. In my opinion, Pacquiao wins via a late stoppage or UD. But it’s by no means a certainty. One thing, however, I can guarantee: There will be blood.”

Clarence George: “Brandon Rios is tough but one-dimensional. Inconceivable (albeit not impossible, of course) that he has what it takes to beat even a damaged and faded Manny Pacquiao, whom I expect to win by eighth-round TKO. I’ll add that the Filipino should retire sooner—much sooner—than later. He has nothing left to prove or gain, but risks losing a great deal if he continues to fight…not only in terms of his historical reputation, but in regard to his long-term health. Of course, we all wanted to see him take on Floyd Mayweather Jr., but that fight didn’t happen when it should have and it’s unlikely to ever take place. And so what if it did? At this stage of the game, it wouldn’t prove anything more than did the Rocky Marciano-Joe Louis bout.”

Christian Giudice: “At some point Manny Pacquiao is going to step aside quietly and move into the next phase of his life. He’ll make a comeback and then another. Yet, no matter how he decides to leave the sport, he will exit with his legacy intact. What happened to him in that last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez was the most frightening thing to happen to a high-profile fighter in years. It’s rare that a fight fan must ask himself: ‘Is he going to get up?’ But that was the sad reality as the boxing icon lay motionless. It wasn’t a beating; it was one punch that Pacquiao walked into. Will he be able to return from the punch and be the same fighter again? No, he won’t be the same supremely skilled fighter, but that doesn’t mean he won’t still be a very good version of what he once was. I questioned the decision to come back against Rios in what will be a violent collision, but this version of Pacquiao will be quick enough to beat Rios, a fine young fighter, on the inside. Also, the main difference in this fight will be that Pacquiao won’t let Rios land shots at will. Pacquiao won’t stand and trade with this kid; it’s too dangerous. At this point in Pacquiao’s career, although his legs have lost their bounce, he knows that he’s one war from retirement. He’ll win this fight by a wide margin by relying on angles, head movement, and body punching. It won’t be the same Manny that we remember, but he will be the best version we’ve seen in a while.

Norman Marcus: “Considering all the bizarre things that have happened to Pacman recently, this is tough to predict. Manny has lost his last two fights. The Bradley fight was bad judging where most agree he won on points. The Marquez fight he was again ahead on points, when he was caught by a lucky punch. It happens. So will he win against Rios? Freddie Roach seems to think so. I feel Roach is an honest man. If Manny had lost that step I believe Freddie would have told him to retire. He would not be in his corner for this fight. He says Manny is as good as ever and very determined to prove he is still a top tier boxer. I believe him. All that being said, I feel Manny will box Brandon but look for an opportunity to end it early. Rios is like a freight train that just keeps coming at you. Reminds me of Mickey Walker who wound up with CTE. You can’t love getting hit and keep all your marbles. My prediction—Pacquiao in a KO6.”

Gordon Marino: “Pacquiao by a TKO in the mid to late rounds. Pacquiao is too fast and hits too hard for Rios. Bam Bam is not going to be able to walk through Pacquiao’s straight left and he doesn’t have the timing to land the kind of big shot that Marquez placed on the Pacman.”

Matt McGrain: “The fights that comprise Manny Pacquiao’s career run in are going to be fought in the Twilight Zone. If you doubt it, consider: we’re already in it. In his last three fights, Pacquiao has, chronologically, been the beneficiary of a bad decision against his most bitter rival (Marquez III), been the victim of one of the most horrific robberies of the modern era (Bradley), and before the dwindling of his invincibility had been made properly apparent to us, he was knocked dangerously unconscious by a single punch thrown by a man who had troubled him previously only with pressure counter-punching (Marquez IV). This is a long-winded way of saying: anything could happen. Make no mistake, Brandon Rios has been selected as an opponent specifically because he is seen as being vulnerable to Pacquiao’s astonishing offense, and he is, but the man fights like a lunatic. Right up there with ‘never start a land war in Asia’ as a truism is the saying, ‘never fight a lunatic in the Twilight Zone.’ My gut is telling me that Manny will get away with it this time, so I’ll write TKO10 by his name and call it a prediction but my real prediction is some form of madness.”

Robert Mladinich: “This will be a good one for as long as it lasts, but if Alvarado could outbox Rios so can Pacquiao. Rios will take a lot of punishment and miss a lot en route to losing a one-sided decision. Pacquiao W 12.”

Ezra Salkin: “Brandon Rios is a strong and exciting fighter. That said, in the words of Wladimir Klitschko, Pac should turn him into a ‘pizza face.’ I think Robert Garcia stops the fight after the 10th round. Pac: TKO 10.”

Ted Sares: “When Roberto Duran was iced by Hearns, he came back. When Paul Williams was iced by Martinez, he didn’t. Maurice Hope’s knockout loss to Benitez finished him. Hearns KO loss to Hagler didn’t. That said, much of this will depend on how Manny’s KO by JMM affected him. If he can survive Rios’ early assault and withstand his bombs, he will win a UD because Rios is perfect for him style wise. If not, he will lose with his corner saving him from himself. The intangible is how the Typhoon might incent Manny. I see Manny winning this one, but I am not at all confident in my prediction.”

Ted Spoon: “I have seen quite a few people who think Rios will win. My only guess is they’re banking on disaster. The Pacquiao who showed up against Marquez last December, save for that fated moment, was close to his buzzsaw best. Rios does not present the problems Marquez does; namely, he’s not going to masterfully sieve through a killer shot while under fire. He’s there to be hit, he thinks he can bully Pacquiao, and that is where that savory speed and those clever angles will eat him up in a manner that’ll give China incentive to pay again. A mid-round shredding in which Brandon leaves each exchange with more bruising; a compassionate referee will stop the carnage.”

Peter Wood: “What will to beat Pacquiao is 1) Age 2) Wear-and-Tear 3) Floyd Mayweather. Rios will not beat him. Pacquiao by TKO in 8 rounds.

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  1. Darrell 09:40pm, 11/23/2013

    So much for nagging thoughts.  A shutout…..if you want to be kind to Rios you could’ve given him round two at a long stretch.  He played his part as just about the slowest top fighter in the business hired to make Pacquiao look good.

  2. Darrell 05:44pm, 11/23/2013

    Adam Berlin’s words set forth my feelings about this fight down to a T.  I also agree with Peter Wood.  Pacquiao by…..mid/late stoppage or increasingly late round dominant UD if Rios is as durable as he has shown in the past.

    I am surprised at how much larger Rios is than Pacquiao though…....just a nagging thought.

  3. Ted 11:51am, 11/23/2013

    Manny is vulnerable to uppercuts (ala Clottey). Rios uses the uppercut as a major offensive weapon.

  4. Jack 08:25am, 11/23/2013

    Steven, You need to understand what “Damaged Goods” means in relationship to boxing, because if he is, Rios could hurt him.  Without seeing him in training, in person, I can’t tell you his status, it is only speculation. I am in agreement with all the writers that predicted a mid to late round stoppage as I said in my post. What you need to understand also is, Pacquiao is not the same fighter he was 3-4 years ago and never will be. That is just a reality of age, wear and tear, focus etc. etc. He fought Marquez 4 times, how come he got Ko’d in the last fight? I respectfully disagree with your statement about Rios, that he couldn’t capitalize on any mistakes. He is a professional fighter with a 31(23)-1-1 record, he sure can!!!!

  5. NYIrish 07:36am, 11/23/2013

    Pac won’t have any trouble hitting Rios. I think The Sneak called this one.

  6. Eric 07:05am, 11/23/2013

    Pacquiao by TKO in the middle to late rounds.

  7. nicolas 03:10am, 11/23/2013

    After what happened to Alvarado in his last fight, and Rios losing to him, Rios I don’t think has much of a chance. Pacquiao however appears to be fours years past his best year, when he knocked out hatton and stopped Cotto. He has not stopped anyone since then, though some have voiced the opinion that Marquez might have been stopped had he not landed that famous punch. I can see a late round stoppage win for Pacquiao because Rios will be taking punishment and so far behind on points, and his corner will know that he doesn’t have a chance to win.

  8. Steven 09:32pm, 11/22/2013

    Rios does not have the speed timing or power to capitalize on any mistakes Manny may make. He’s just not that good.

  9. Pete The Sneak 06:52pm, 11/22/2013

    ” Rios does have enough “pop” in his punches that if Pacquiao turns out to be “damaged goods”, the fight would get more interesting.”... Thanks Jack! You said in 2 sentences what took me a whole paragraph to try and convey…Enjoy the fight my man…Peace.

  10. Jack 06:47pm, 11/22/2013

    Everyone is in agreement, the only variable is what round the fight gets stopped in. We all have been around boxing long enough to know, the opponent in a fight like this is picked, not because he can win, but that he will more than likely lose. Part of the reality of boxing!!! Pete, Rios does have enough “pop” in his punches that if Pacquiao turns out to be “damaged goods”, the fight would get more interesting. Enjoy the bout!

  11. Pete The Sneak 06:23pm, 11/22/2013

    As I have been posting for the past month, I think Manny will outclass a very tough and determined Brandon Rios. However, I truly think there will be some telling moments in the early rounds, where Rios will be at his zenith and clock Pac Man with some good shots despite Manny’s countering. Make no mistake, Rios will be throwing bombs and if a good one connects flush, really am curious how Manny will take it. Yes, Rios does not have JMM’s (recent) KO ability, but Brandon can crack and who knows how much JMM has softened Pac Man. Still, Pac man boxes, uses in out style and speed, I see Manny giving Rios a beat down and Robert Garcia stopping the fight in the 10th Round…Peace.

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