By Christopher Verlod
This weekend Manny Pacquiao, the Congressman from the Philippines, will be facing off against Brandon Rios early Sunday morning in Macau, China. Only in a sport like boxing does that seem like a normal sentence. Both of these men have something to prove. Manny Pacquiao is out to show that he is still one of the “Pound-for-Pound” fighters in the world. On the other side is Brandon Rios who is trying to establish himself as one of the new faces of boxing.
Manny Pacquiao has lost his last two fights against Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. While the Bradley Decision was a close split decision, there was no doubt about his fourth fight With Marquez last December. In the sixth round Marquez rocked Pacquiao with a thunderous right hand which left Pacquiao face down and unconscious with his second loss in a row.
Pacquiao hasn’t been the fighter that we have seen destroy all comers that we have come to love since his 2008 destruction of Oscar De La Hoya. He hasn’t had a dominating performance since his unanimous decision of Shane Mosley. In Pacquiao’s last three fights, he has looked human. Pacquiao is looking to reverse his recent misfortunes with a convincing win over Brandon Rios.
This is not going to be a tune up fight for Manny Pacquiao. Brandon Rios is a more than capable fighter to go up against Paquiao. With only one loss in his career he has proven that he knows how to close out a fight and most of those fights end with the other fighter on the ground.
The one small hiccup in Rios’ career was his last fight, a rematch with Alvarado where Rios lost by a unanimous decision. In the first fight Rios was able to wear down Alvarado until he finally won by TKO. The second fight Alvarado decided to outbox Rios instead of going toe-to-toe with him. Rios was frustrated with the lack of action and Alvarado was able to get the decision. This has become the blueprint to beat Rios and he will have to learn from that loss to beat Pacquiao.
This fight is undoubtedly a must win for Manny Pacquiao. To be considered as one of the best “Pound-for-Pound” fighters along with Floyd Mayweather Jr., he needs to win with style over Brandon Rios. If he were to lose or even worse get knocked out by Rios, Pacquiao’s reputation as one of the best fighters in the world could be in jeopardy.
But, if he is able to dominates Rios, he is right back on top. That is how boxing works now; there is little room for error. This weekend is a defining moment for Manny Pacquiao’s career and in Macau, China. We will see if we get the “old” Pacquiao that could give Mayweather the toughest fight of his career, or will we see the “older” Pacquiao whose best days are behind him and should consider hanging up his gloves. Either way this is going to be an entertaining fight that you won’t want to miss.