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“Welcome Back Pac-Man,” Pacquiao too good for Rios
Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) returned from his shocking knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez one year ago to win an impressive 12-round unanimous decision against Brandon Rios (23-2, 16 KOs). Pacquiao-Rios headlined a HBO Pay-Per-View event from the Venetian in Macau, China on Saturday.
There were many questions lingering over Pacquiao’s return: Would the 34 year-old Philippine sensation handle punch of a younger, bigger target in Rios, an all-out brawler that applies relentless pressure? Would the distractions of Mike Kontz’ hospitalization, Freddie Roach’s argument with Roberto Garcia, and the victims of the Typhoon that swept through the Philippines affect Pacquiao’s performance?
Can Pacquiao recover from a frightening knockout loss? The Pac-Man successfully answered those questions vividly by simply out-boxing, outclassing, outslugging, and outmaneuvering Rios for twelve rounds.
The judges’ scores of 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110 simply couldn’t capture the brilliance that was Manny Pacquiao. His muscle memory and reflexes were intact. Pacquiao boxed very well, moving in-out, side-to-side. He punished Rios to the body and snapped his head backward behind powerful straight-lefts. There were occasions when Pacquiao was extremely difficult to hit. Pacquiao showed a lot of three-four-five punch combinations. Rios’ face was had lacerations, swelling, and confusion, as Pacquiao successfully posted his first victory in two years.
Pacquiao’s hand speed wasn’t as blinding against Rios as it was against Juan Manuel Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and David Diaz through the years. Perhaps Pacquiao could have used his right and more, but against Rios, Pacquiao proved that boxing still engaging and is more than capable of carrying on is in-ring legacy.
If there s still a chance, a remote possibility of a fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, perhaps the fight should be made. Mayweather and Pacquiao are two of the sport’s most talked-about and celebrated fighters. Although they really both don’t need one another, it’s a fight that people have been discussing for years. It would really be a disappointment if they two never fought each other. The reality is they probably never will.
While there are rumors of Mayweather fighting Amir Khan in May 2014, there are also rumors of Pacquiao’s next fight against newly crowned WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov, who was present at ringside to watch Pacquiao first-hand.
Provodnikov, in 2013, challenged WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley. He dropped Bradley on the canvas, but lost a 12-round decision in June. Provodnikov stopped Mike Alvarado in the tenth round to win the WBO 140-pound title in October. All fingers point to a Pacquiao-Provodnikov showdown in Macau, next year. Provodnikov is another exciting, straight-forward, and aggressive fighter.
Bradley, who defeated Pacquiao for the WBO welterweight title in June 2012, has made two successful defenses. In November, Bradley outpointed Marquez through twelve rounds. Bradley, who deserves the chance to fight Mayweather, is an overachiever and he continues to improve as a world class fighter. The more significant his victories, the more interest there will be in a rematch with Pacquiao.
Miguel Cotto, who lost to Pacquiao in 2009, would love to have a shot at revenge. Cotto, perhaps the biggest name in the sport outside of Mayweather, Pacquiao, and Saul Alvarez, remains one of boxing’s top draws. Cotto sold more than 10,000 tickets in Orlando, FL prior to dismantling Delvin Rodriguez on HBO in October. Golden Boy Promotions is offering Cotto $10 million to fight Alvarez on pay-per-view in March. Cotto also be interested in finally meeting Sergio Martinez in June 2014 in New York.
Pacquiao has a lot of options, but he appears more than capable and willing to move forward to resume his career on a high note.