For Rios, Pacquiao is ripe for the taking

Carlos Cinco

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

For Brandon Rios, this is the best time to take on a struggling Manny Pacquiao.

SINGAPORE — All it took was a perfectly placed counter shot to the chin, to send Manny Pacquiao crashing to the canvas, bringing along with him the hopes and dreams of Filipinos around the world.

Carlos Cinco.Many experts believe a knockout like the one Pacquiao suffered at the hands of arch-nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez 9 months ago is hard to come back from. “Damaged goods” is what they call a fighter, victim of a brutal finisher like the phantom right hand that separated Pacquiao from his senses.

Hard to argue with that.

When Roy Jones Jr. got annihilated by Antonio Tarver in two rounds back in 2004, he went on a 3-fight losing streak, getting knocked out by Glen Johnson in his next scrap, and then dropping a unanimous decision to Tarver, losing again in a rematch.

Miguel Cotto, after being brutalized by the heavy (pun-intended) hands of Antonio Margarito, was just never the same in succeeding fights – like a dull blade that had lost its edge.

Some fighters are never the same.

Perfect timing

That’s why for Brandon Rios, the time is now to test Pacquiao’s chin and furthermore, his resolve. Their Welterweight contest, which will be held in Macau, China on November 23 should answer a lot of lingering questions.

“Manny makes a lot of mistakes,” said the young gun from Oxnard, California.

DANGEROUS. Rios will mix it up with Pacquiao. File photo by EPA.

“Robert (head trainer) and I will be working hard on making a plan to exploit them,” added Rios. “I can’t let this opportunity slip through my fingers.”

Take into consideration Pacquiao’s recent slide, and it appears that the window of opportunity, as Rios sees it, is wide open.

Pacman will be ready

Pacquiao hasn’t looked like his whirling dervish self as of late, outputting two lackluster performances in his most recent fights. Add to that a nearly year-long layoff by the time he steps in the ring with Rios, and Pacquiao could be faced with a steeper climb than initially thought.

But Rios isn’t betting on the former 8-division champ to come to the fight ill-prepared.

“We’re getting ready for the Manny that was beating everybody, dominating the game. We’re getting ready for THAT Manny,” said Rios, who is wise to not underestimate his more accomplished opponent.

“I’ll be ready.”

Stylistically, the matchup favors Pacquiao, who is more agile in the ring than the flat-footed Rios.

Rios will be right in front of Pacquiao all night with his chin tucked into his chest and his gloves in front of his face. No tape of Brandon Rios exists that suggests he will do otherwise.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, should still be able to work wonders with his quick feet, even if just in spurts and not quite as often as in his youth.

Energizer bunny no more

Pacquiao, 34, is no longer the bouncy energizer bunny of his younger years. The Pacquiao of today is a more controlled, more technical beast who picks his spots albeit still the same dangerous, homerun hitter.

The former Pound-for-Pound champion was heavily reliant on athleticism and physicality in his prime, but is now left with experience as his main weapon. Those still hanging on Pacquiao to out-speed and overwhelm Rios must not have been watching Pacquiao’s recent fights.

Pacquiao is calculated now with his offense, as opposed to just going out there guns blazing.

Rios, 7 years Pacquiao’s junior, is a live underdog with youthful energy on his side – and he can take a punch too.

“Everybody knows that when I come into the ring, I come to fight,” said Rios.

“I leave it all in the ring, I don’t take nothing home with me. I never doubt myself. I’m very confident 100% in myself,” he added.

Rios goes all-out in the ring, and is the epitome of a modern-day blood and guts warrior.

“I got the biggest heart and the biggest balls in the world and I’m always ready to fight. And also, I can take a punch.”

ENERGIZER BUNNY NO MORE. Pacquiao isn't the most explosive boxer in the world anymore. File photo by AFP.

Which Pacquiao will show up?

Some say Rios’ style is tailor made for a guy like Pacquiao, but as of now, the jury is still out on which Pacquiao will show up on fight night.

If Pacquiao fails to return to previous form and comes to the fight just a shade slower and a little less powerful than his usual self, as his last few fights have shown, he could be in for a long night with a hungry, young fighter like Rios.

Pacquiao, who is more visible now as a politician rather than as a world-champion boxer, will attempt to once again juggle a demanding political career with a multitude of extra-curricular activities – none of which have anything to do with Boxing.

As has often been the case, these distractions play a critical role in Pacquiao’s focus on a particular fight and have notoriously caused less than stellar performances from the Filipino superstar.

The outcome of the fight all depends on how Pacquiao will respond after being destroyed by Marquez back in December – which puts Rios, perhaps, in the best position of his life.

The window of opportunity is wide open, with Manny Pacquiao ripe for the taking. –

Carlos Cinco is a writer covering Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. He is the Editor at Reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB

Watch Pacquiao-Rios fight live on PLDT Fibr Pay-Per-View!
Click here to know more


Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI