Bob Arum raised some eyebrows late last week when he suggested that Brandon Rios would probably a get a shot at Manny Pacquiao in 2013. Well, scratch that. Arum didn’t specifically name Rios. Rather, the Top Rank Boss indicated that the winner of this past Saturday’s showdown between Rios and Mike Alvarado would probably fight Manny in 2013, and Rios was the one who won that match.
After the fight, Rios was asked about potentially taking on Pacquiao, and how he felt he would do against the Filipino champ.
"You see what happened to Mike Alvarado? I think I could do the same thing to them, too. Mike Alvarado, I think, he hits harder than them and he's more tougher," Rios said (via RingTV).
"Pacquiao's an in and out guy. But you know what? Like I always do, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. taught me very well. Break the body down and the head will fall down."
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Obviously Rios wasn’t lacking in confidence that night. Handing a very legitimate fighter in Alvarado his first career loss is big, however, it doesn’t exactly mean that you will have similar success versus Pacquiao. The difference between taking down a good fighter and taking down a legendary one is pretty massive.
This week, Rios’ camp decided take a bit of the sting out of his initial comments. Clearly they really want a showdown against the Filipino champ, and the last thing they want to do right now is turn anyone off by seeming too cocky.
"The fact that Brandon is being mentioned doesn't mean that the fight is going to happen, so they both have their own managers. We're not 100 percent that it's going to happen," said trainer Robert Garcia (via RingTV).
"But it would be an honor just to know that we're being mentioned as a potential opponent for a guy who has been on top for the last 10 years or so."
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That was the kill-them-with-compliments part of the interview. Then Garcia went back to espousing the same sort of message Rios sent after the Alvarado bout: nobody in that camp is afraid of Pacquiao.
“I think that Brandon's style combined with Pacquiao's age and all of that, we might be able to pull of a surprise. I think that Brandon's style is just one that gives everybody problems.
"Brandon ain't taking it easy with nobody. He wants to fight the best guys out there. Everybody says that Brandon fights similarly to Margarito, and that could be true. Brandon keeps on coming, works the body beautifully and throws really good uppercuts in there. The only difference is that Brandon is 10 years younger than Margarito, which could be a big difference in a fight with Manny Pacquiao," said Garcia.
"Right now, I think that he's at a significant point of his career. The same thing with Pacquiao. Pacquiao is not getting any younger, and Brandon is young, strong and hungry, so that could make a big difference. I think Brandon's style is a factor against anybody. We could have Sugar Ray Leonard and Brandon's style could give him trouble, you know what I mean? And if it's somebody like Pacquiao who stands in front of you and goes to war with you, then it'll be a war just like people saw on Saturday."
A fight versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. is obviously priority number one for 2013. However, if that doesn’t materialize (which it very well might not), Rios is clearly being positioned to be Pacquiao’s fallback option.