by Matt Gerovac
There are many factors to consider leading up to the November 23 clash between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios. Here are five reasons why Pacquiao will win this much anticipated matchup.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
1. Pacquiao has something to prove. Before the Juan Manuel Marquez knockout and the loss to Timothy Bradley, Pacquiao was still considered by many as one of the top two or three fighters on the pound for pound list. After his momentary lapse in concentration and the resulting unplanned nap, Pacquiao again has something to fight for. Many argue that his responsibilities as a Congressman in his native Philippines, and rockstar status may have interfered with his training and focus. Getting knocked out has forced Pacquiao take stock of what’s important and to refocus on boxing.
2. Rios likes to brawl. Pacquiao was caught by a masterful counterpunch by a great counterpuncher in Marquez. Rios doesn’t have enough slickness to his game like the experienced Marquez. Rios has a ton of heart, but his style will lead him directly into one of Pacquiao’s favorite weapons, the straight left. Rios may have the chin to last all twelve and lose the decision, but he doesn’t have the speed or boxing skills to beat Pacquiao.
3. Rios has been severely tested by talent far inferior to Pacquiao. In both fights versus Mike Alvarado, Rios ate hard shots with both hands. Alvarado doesn’t have the speed, power, or boxing skills that Pacquiao brings on a bad day, but he still beat Rios in a controversial decision.
4. It’s not Pacquiao’s first rodeo. However, this is the first time Brandon Rios will be on the world-wide stage. This also isn’t the first time in his career that Pacquiao has had to pick himself up after a knockout loss, as he has done it twice previously. It’s also important to consider that the fight will take place in Macao, China – which is much closer to the Philippines than Rios’ Texan and Southern California fan bases. If this rodeo were in Oxnard, California, Rios may feel a bit more comfortable, but he will be a stranger in a strange land where 9 out of the 10 people will have their money on Pacquiao.
5. Don’t forget that Rios is coming off a loss, too. The Mike Alvarado fights were battles that could’ve gone either way. According to the judges, who may have been wrong, Mike Alvarado beat Rios in their last fight. The close decision loss will certainly hang in the back or Rios’ mind, causing him to fight with even more of a sense of urgency. Rios already has a tendency to fight a little flat-footed, and get overextended on his punches. If he’s pressing, it will play right Pacquiao’s counters, making an early stoppage even more of a possibility.
Of course, this could all be proven wrong if Rios finds some way to beat Pacquiao. In the sport of boxing anyone with two fists, a big heart, and the right mentality has a chance to come out on top. Rios will be ready for this fight and if we could truly predict this fight, there’d be no reason to watch. One more thing to remember: the winner of this fight could eventually cash in on the Money Mayweather sweepstakes before Floyd hangs up the gloves.