Brandon Rios is used to giving fans thrills and chills.
And now he’ll have a chance to show some of that off on one of the biggest stages of all.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
It was announced that Rios, who most recently was beaten in an attempt to win the WBO junior welterweight title, will be the opponent for Manny Pacquiao on November 24 at The Venetian in Macau.
The man Rios lost to, Mike Alvarado, was the other fighter who was under consideration for this fight, which means that Rios, in effect, won despite losing.
It’s not really that simple, of course. Rios, who lost for the first time ever in that bout with Alvarado, was determined to be the better “style” matchup for Pacquiao, meaning that he won’t be very hard to find, and there is the added attraction that Pacquiao will be the more natural fighter at this weight, which will be around 147 pounds.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
This is the first time Pacquiao will have stepped into the ring since his devastating fifth-round knockout defeat at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez last December, and coming off two losses, he needs to get a win very badly if he is going to maintain a certain level of viability in the pay per view world. The connections behind the Filipino superstar do not want their fighter to have to “look for” their opponent, and they will encounter very little in the way of finesse from Rios, who comes straight ahead in a brawling style. They believe that from an entertainment standpoint, they will have a much better fight on their hands, which will enhance pay per view sales.
And speaking of pay per view, as has been previously discussed, this fight will come with a special starting time, which may be less convenient for the live audience but will fit right in with prime time in the United States, which will be the primary PPV market.
In what should be a very interesting experiment that, if successful, could pave the way for a landmark revenue stream, the fight will be offered to television households in China via the pay per view route, with distribution from Major League Baseball Advanced Media and a price tag that would convert to a U.S. equivalent of roughly between five and six dollars.
Pacquiao, who should draw more than his share of Asian high-rollers, has balked at paying the high personal income tax rates in the United States, which is why he wanted to take this fight away from a venue like Las Vegas. Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has made alliances in Macau, recently promoting a championship card there that included Chinese Olympic champion Zou Shiming, who will also fight in Macau on July 27. When Shiming fought, the Chinese TV audience constituted one of the largest viewerships ever for a fight.
The April 6 card was successful enough at the Venetian that, according to Arum, the win on for a two-night period was greater than some of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip bring in during an entire year.
This fight will not only allow Pacquiao to escape a large tax burden, it will also give him the opportunity to train in the Philippines.
And having Rios as the opponent gives Pacquiao a chance to look good against someone who is smaller and isn’t going to be running from him, which makes Freddie Roach happy. “He’s more hittable,” said the veteran trainer, who would also love to get some revenge for an incident a few years ago in which Rios reportedly mocked his mannerisms that have come by way of his Parkinson’s Disease.
Rios brings a record of 31-1-1 with 23 KO’s into the fight. He won the WBA lightweight title in February of 2011 with a tenth-round stoppage of Miguel Acosta in February 2011. He lost that title when he failed to make weight for a defense against Britain’s John Murray ten months later, but moved up to 140 pounds for his thrilling fight with the previously undefeated Alvarado last October, scoring a seventh-round TKO. In the rematch, which was contested for the interim WBO crown at 140 pounds, Alvarado won a unanimous decision.