Manny Pacquiao made headlines earlier this week when he suggested that he was eying a showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at some point in the foreseeable future. The proclamation in itself wasn’t particularly shocking, given the circumstances at hand. For one thing, Pacquiao and Mayweather have been periodically calling each other out at inopportune times for many years now. Beyond that, it was mostly a general shot – not exactly a “let’s meet at this specific time and place” type deal. Still, it was mildly newsworthy given the folks involved, and it got about as many headlines as you’d expect it to.
Both Pacquiao and Mayweather have fights coming up over the next few months. Mayweather will take on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in September. Pacquiao will fight Brandon Rios in November. Each opponent is a good measuring stick for how good the more popular fighters involved currently are, but that’s particularly true in the latter match-up.
Pacquiao is coming off two defeats, but they’re two defeats that nobody is quite sure what to make of. The one against Timothy Bradley came despite the fact that, everyone, literally everyone besides two judges thought Pacquiao won the bout. Then, the one against Juan Manuel Marquez came in a showdown that Pacquiao was winning on every judge’s score card up until he got knocked out.
So what does that mean? Has Pacquiao just been extremely unlucky? Or did he lose that indescribable it which made him who he was while nobody was paying attention.
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That’s what his match-up against Rios will tell us. For all the talk about how Pacquiao is a 3-to-1 favorite and Rios is a basic, not particularly impressive fighter – he’s still a guy with exactly one loss on his record. And that one loss came via decision against a guy he previously knocked out.
Rios will test Pacquiao. And once he tests him, we’ll know exactly how the Filipino star stacks up against the best pound-for-pounder in the sport.