By Kirk Jackson
Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios 31-1-1 (23 KO’s) will embark on the greatest challenge in his professional career November 23rd when he faces boxing mega-star Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao 54-5-2 (38 KO’s) at the Venetian Macao resort & hotel in Macau of the Special administrative regions in China.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
This is the career defining fight for Rios, his biggest payday to date and he can stamp his name into the history books with a decisive victory over the future hall of famer.
You would think this is where Rios wants to be right? He is realizing his dream, his dream of fighting one of the best fighters in the world. Realizing the dream of capturing the world-wide fame and recognition.
This is a dream realized by Manny Pacquiao. Multiple time world champion across several divisions, participant in some of the biggest fights of the past 10 years, hero in his native country of the Philippines and recognized around the world as one of the biggest stars in the sport of boxing.
In HBO’s “Face-off” hosted by HBO commentator Max Kellerman, Rios was asked the question of what he wants.
Rios responded saying he wants to be on top of the world. Kellerman than suggested that Rios wants what Pacquiao has. After that cue, Pacquiao responded.
“He wants to be like me and that’s good,” said Manny Pacquiao. “That’s good, nobody can stop you, only God knows.”
Which drew a response from Rios saying, “But I’m not gonna try to be a congressman if you tryna say I’m gonna be like him no, I wanna be on top of the world.”
There was a quite a bit of interesting dialogue towards the end of the program, which included a jovial Pacquiao telling his opponent, “You want to be like me.”
Which in turn conjured the response, “I don’t want to be like you, I want to be like Brandon,” said Rios. “I’m tired of people counting me out, I feel disrespect that they’re counting me out, this is his comeback and I’m a punching bag and that he’s going to fight Mayweather.”
Brandon certainly has something right. He does not want to emulate Pacquiao’s last two performances. The controversial loss to Timothy Bradley and the devastating knock-out defeat from his arch-nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez that happened in 2012.
With the animosity and beef brewing between the head trainers of each camp, Freddie Roach and Robert Garcia respectively, it would seem likely that Rios wants to utterly destroy Pacquiao.
Following his mentor’s footsteps will not get the job done. Emulating Antonio Margarito, a tough, walking-punching bag will not beat Pacquiao. He would be playing into his hands.
Interesting thing is, if he wants to retire Manny Pacquiao like he claims and wants to be known as the king of the boxing world, Rios will have to be like Pacquiao circa 2006-2011. He would have to do that at least for one night.
Or better yet, be like Erik Morales or Juan Manuel Marquez, guys who gave Pacquiao problems with their counter-punching prowess, toughness, subtle mobility and combination punching.