Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios are two of the more entertaining fighters in boxing, so their November 2013 showdown would have been highly anticipated no matter what. Fortunately, this bout also features the added bonus of pitting two men who have a lot on the line heading into the proceedings.
Pacquiao is fresh off two consecutive losses, and while some would dispute that his defeat to Timothy Bradley was anything other than a botched decision, the judge’s ruling on what transpired is what’ll be recorded in the history books. Thus, despite what anyone might think, the former champ is on a two-fight skid.
Because of the questionability of one of those two losses and how good he looked against Juan Manuel Marquez prior to getting knocked out, it won’t be hard for Pacquiao to convince folks that he isn’t done just yet. However, he needs to beat Rios in order for that to happen. If he emerges from November’s showdown with a victory, then all is good. If he doesn’t, his career is over.
Similarly, Rios has a lot to prove in November as well. Although his victory over Mike Alvarado was actually more impressive than Alvarado’s victory over him, the way in which he lost last month has left a bad taste in people’s mouths. The thing that makes Rios special, his ridiculous relentless, can also be his biggest weakness – as we all saw in the second Alvarado fight. In Pacquiao, Rios has a very smart foe will try to exploit the flaws in his game, how he responds will say a lot about where his career is headed.
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For what it’s worth, Rios seems to understand and welcome that challenge. He indicated this much in a recent interview with the Philippine Star.
“I want to fight him not just for the money but because of what he has done – and if you beat him, it takes your name to a different level,” he said. “It’s my time to shine to take on the best and beat the best.”
November can’t get hear quickly enough.