After Dominating Brandon Rios, is Manny Pacquiao Back?

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Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank

Is Manny Pacquiao back? That was the hot question among friends and colleagues Saturday night after Pacquiao’s one-sided beat down of Brandon Rios.

Pacquiao—who hadn’t fought since being brutally knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012—had a lot riding on this fight to say the least.

Not only was his career hanging in the balance due to his last few fights, but with the devastation which recently occurred in the Philippines due to the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan, Pacquiao carried an extra bit of weight on his shoulders.

The people of Pacquiao’s homeland looked towards their champion to uplift them once more and he did not disappoint.

Pacquiao’s movement was as swift as ever as he connected against Rios from a myriad of angles.

In the post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman, Rios admitted that it was his opponents speed that got to him, but that Pacquiao’s power was not bothersome.

It is the question of power that we must analyze to determine just how “back” Pacquiao truly is. For all his skillful movement and crisp combinations, Pacquiao lacked the pop on his punches to hurt Rios.

This was quite surprising given the fact that Rios is an easy target and he has been visibly rocked in the past, most recently against Mike Alvarado in their rematch.

In watching the Pac-Man on Saturday, I kept waiting for him to land with the ferocity that he hit David Diaz, Antonio Margarito and Ricky Hatton—among others—with. A prime Pacquiao, the one Jim Lampley referred to as “a storm”, would have taken Brandon Rios out in highlight-reel fashion.

Maybe we’re being too tough? After all, Pacquiao wiped the floor with Rios. I found it hard to give any rounds to the Oxnard fighter and in fact had it a clean sweep for Pacquiao, 12 rounds to zero.

But, the point is that styles make fights and Rios’ style was tailor made for Pacquiao to look good against. It was said a thousand times during the promotional buildup and it ending up being true; Rios was indeed handpicked for Pacquiao.

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Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images

At this point in his career, if Pacquiao can’t knockout a plodding, come forward type of fighter like Rios, then how would he fair against quick, crafty guys like Floyd Mayweather or Timothy Bradley?

After watching Pacquiao’s triumphant return, signs are pointing towards one clear cut answer. Pacquiao would lose.

With no game changing power, Pacquiao would have a difficult time with quicker foes that are athletic and don’t just come forward, eating punch after punch.


Were you impressed with Manny Pacquiao’s performance against Brandon Rios? How would he do against Floyd Mayweather Jr.?

Header photo by Tyrone Siu/Reuters

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