By Briggs Seekins
The big pay-per-view weekend is over in the world’s largest gambling mecca, in the world’s largest officially authoritarian state. And the big take away in terms of important boxing knowledge is that Manny Pacquiao is, indeed, a far better boxer than Brandon Rios, and a much quicker puncher. We learned, as well, that Rios is an extremely durable S.O.B. He can take a big shot and keep coming forward, throwing punches with bad intention.
Of course, all of this information came as a revelation to exactly nobody. In the end, Brandon Rios vs. Manny Pacquiao played out in exactly the manner most fans would have expected it to play out. Rios showed himself to be a tough, spirited competitor, capable of taking a beating in heroic fashion.
He played to type, just as Top Rank had cast him to do. From the beginning, a large amount of the apathy towards this fight among fans has essentially come down to the fact that it was a clear competitive mismatch. There was near unanimous agreement that Rios’ only chance to win would be if Pacquiao were suddenly “all through” as a fighter.
So the only real drama Top Rank could offer going into this pay-per-view was the tension of finding out whether or not the once-great Manny Pacquiao was now washed up. That’s not exactly compelling in the same way Pacquiao-De La Hoya, Pacquiao-Cotto and Pacquiao-Marquez were.
As it turned out, Pacquiao performed exactly as he would be expected to perform against Rios. Rios showed up determined to win and applied patient pressure for much of the fight. But Pacquiao’s advantages in speed, athleticism and tactics allowed him to carry the fight for nearly every second of every round.
With Pacquiao returning to the win column, the Online boxing world should quickly return to its favorite non-story of all time—the “will they/won’t they” soap opera of Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather.
The fight that never was somehow managed to be the biggest boxing story of President Obama’s entire first term. And like an unpopular Congress, it’s the story that just won’t seem to ever go away.
Even with Pacquiao no longer viewed as a serious contender for top pound-for-pound status, Pacman vs. Mayweather remains the biggest fight that could be made. For Mayweather, it’s the only compelling fight left for him, short of fighting a middleweight like Sergio Martinez or Gennady Golovkin.
But at this point it’s not a fight I expect to see happen. Based on everything I’ve read around this fight in the public records—and I’m almost ashamed to say, I’ve read just about everything to come across my computer feeds—I just don’t believe the fight is destined to occur.
And as a matter of principle, I feel boxing writers and fans have already spent enough time and energy on a fight that has been nothing but an endless tease over the course of years.
Of course if the fight could actually be made, I’d be all for it. It would be a week that I actually got my stuff read by regular sports fans, and not just the boxing crowd.
But no matter how great a fight it would be in theory, talking circles around it forever when it never happens long ago began to have the effect of hanging out in a Sport’s Bar in the 7th Circle of Hell.
After Pacquiao got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez last December the great non-fight story faded from the headlines. A lot of exciting and deserving boxing stories broke through into the forefront instead during 2013.
But neither Robert Guerrero or Saul Alvarez gave Floyd Mayweather a remotely compelling fight this year. He’s got nobody else left to fight.
Top Rank could create interest in a rematch for Pacquiao with Timothy Bradley. But after that fight, Pacquiao’s got nobody left but Mayweather.
So prepare for another round of that old refrain, the hit song from a few years back that you grew so tired of, but can never get out of your ear once you’ve caught the opening chords by mistake on the radio. Do not be surprised if you catch yourself humming it under your breath.