Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
Gabriel Rivas, Contributing Writer
Brandon Rios is considered to be one of the best Light Welterweights in the world. However, his style forces him to take a lot of punishment and he is most comfortable fighting on the inside. Manny Pacquiao has been a world champion in eight divisions. He has come back from knockouts twice in his career and I do not see his last knockout stopping him from being the offensive machine we have seen in the past. I predict this fight to be very similar to Pacman’s fight with Margarito–but it will fare worse for Rios. Rios has never been in the ring with someone as fast and powerful as Pacquiao and this fight can quite possibly end in a stoppage. Rios can take a punch, but even Alvarado almost stopped him in their previous fight. Furthermore, Rios wants to work on the inside but Pacquiao’s “punches in bunches” will be too much for Rios to handle. Rios was getting outboxed in his fight with Alvarado and if Pacquiao chooses to box in a smart way, there will be trouble for Rios. I have Pacquiao winning this fight in spectacular fashion and putting his name back into the list of possible opponents for Floyd Mayweather.
Gabriel Polanco, Contributing Writer
Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring, almost one year after a hellacious 6-Round knockout by Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez, to fight former Lightweight champion, Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios. I think Rios will go out there and test Pacquiao’s chin right away. Will it stand up against Rios? I think yes, just not without some shaky moments. I believe there will be a few knockdowns, one at the very least on both sides. It will definitely turn out to be a war, with Rios’ iron chin and will, against Pacquiao’s unbreakable fortitude; overall a slugmatch and a possible FOTY. I have Pacquiao by a very close decision, a fight where Rios’ stock will rise and his name shine.
Rob Anthony, Contributing Writer
There are several reasons why this fight is intriguing. One being that Brandon Rios has a huge chip on his shoulder because he believes that Bob Arum hand picked him for Manny Pacquiao as a tailor-made opponent who will make Pacquiao look good and put him on a comeback to prominence in the boxing world. There’s also the fact the Alex Ariza–who was a long time staple in the Pac-Man camp–is now helping train Brandon Rios, and there’s bad blood between him and Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach. The bad blood bubbled over during the week in a spat during a Rios work out session. The most interesting tidbit about this fight is the return of Pacquiao. Is he still worth PPV money? Is he still a global icon “in the ring” anymore? Will he fight more cautious after being knocked out so violently by Juan Manuel Marquez? All interesting questions that will get answers this Saturday. I think Brandon Rios is a tailor-made opponent for Pacquiao. Rios does have some boxing skills and he did reach the finals of the U.S. Olympic trials. You don’t make it to that point of amateur boxing by being a brawler. But, boxing with U.S. amateur hopefuls and boxing against Pacquiao are two very different things. Rios likes to smile and laugh at his opponents after feeling their power, and realizing they cant hurt him. He won’t be smiling or laughing after being hit cleanly by a full strength Pacquiao with a chip on his shoulder and possibly with his career as a major draw on the line. I’m picking a very game Pacquiao to get his mojo back and possibly put his name back into the mega-fight sweepstakes with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Juan Carlos Burgos, Contributing Writer
Manny Pacquiao is coming off a brutal KO loss suffered at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. The million dollar question is, how much does Pacquiao have left in the tank? Brandon Rios is also coming off a loss and even though he is the younger fighter he has mileage on his odometer as well. The key for me is how will Manny react when he gets hit by Rios? Pacquiao will have to use his superior foot and hand speed to create angles against the more plodding Rios. Unless Pacquiao is shot, Rios can’t rely on his typical come forward style and take 3 punches to land 1. If that is his strategy I think it’s a recipe for disaster, unless again, Pacquiao is done as a fighter. The saying in boxing goes that great fighters always have one last great performance in them. I believe Pacquiao still has one in him. I like Pacquiao over Rios.
Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief
This matchup got a lot more intriguing after the brouhaha in the gym between Freddie Roach and Team Rios. Some claim it may have been scripted drama, but whatever the case, it certainly upped the intrigue for me. I expect Brandon Rios to be in shape and ready to tirelessly come forward against Manny Pacquiao. Rios looks physically bigger than Pacquiao, but at the end of the day I don’t think that will matter as much as people think. I don’t think Pacquiao will be worn down or pushed around. I think Pac-Man will be sharp and ready to strike from different angles—ala vintage Manny—and he will bust Rios up en-route to a mid-to-late round stoppage. Robert Garcia needs to be on his A game because if Rios eats shots from Pacquiao all night—like he loves to do against other opponents—he’ll need someone to save him.