Pacquiao beats Rios for welterweight title
MACAU - Dominating the younger Brandon Rios, Manny Pacquiao shows the boxing world he is back.
Natashya Gutierrez reports.
It's sweet victory for Manny Pacquiao and the people of the Philippines. Not only does the 8-division world champion prove to the world he still has much left in him - the triumph also lifts the spirits of his countrymen looking for much needed inspiration after Super Typhoon Haiyan. Pacquiao delivers.
From the opening bell, a dominant Pacquiao shows superiority over his less experienced opponent, Brandon Rios. He lands his punches from unexpected angles, and uses his speed to avoid Rios' hands.
Rios does not provide much of a threat. He takes Pacquiao's punches but barely throws his own. Pacquiao continues to outbox the Mexican-American until the end. He wins by unanimous decision. The numbers prove its an easy fight for Pacquiao. Compubox says Pacquiao lands 281 of his 790 punches, while Rios only hits 138 of 502. Of Pacquiao's 281 punches that connect, 241 land on Rios' head.
Rios says its Pacquiao's speed that caught him off guard, but insists Pacquiao didn't hurt him.
BRANDON RIOS, AMERICAN BOXER: I never got hurt at that fight. He never hurt me at all. I never got stunned. Nothing. I think the quickness just threw me off guard.
Pleased with his performance, Pacquiao silences critics. Retirement rumors flew after Pacquiao's knockout one year ago.
MANNY PACQUIAO, FILIPINO BOXER: I told them this is not my time yet. My journey will continue. I said we will rise again and that's what happened.
His trainer Freddie Roach is also happy with Pacquiao's showing. But he says Pacquiao could've dropped Rios.
FREDDIE ROACH, PACQUIAO'S TRAINER: Manny did take it easy in the last round and I feel that he didn't step on the gas pedal. I think he could've finished Rios but he told me there's no sense in beating him up anymore, he beat him in every round. He said there was no sense in trying to hurt the guy. I think his compassion got in the way a little bit.
There is no knockout but the win is enough to convince fans Pacquiao is back.
That night, Pacquiao hosts a Christian fellowship to give thanks. The next day, one final bible study in his suite led by actor Stephen Baldwin before returning to his hometown in General Santos City. He vows to visit areas hard-hit by the typhoon.
More than just a sporting victory, Pacquiao's triumph is symbolic. It's a source of pride and unity for his countrymen especially after a difficult few weeks - at a time of rebuilding for the Philippines. His victory's a reminder, the typhoon ravaged areas can rise again. Natashya Gutierrez, Rappler, Macau. - Rappler.com