Manny Pacquiao had several options for his upcoming November 2013 fight. You will recall, everybody from Juan Manuel Marquez to Timothy Bradley to Mike Alvarado was discussed as a potential foe. In the end, though, after Marquez and Bradley decided to fight one another, Pacquiao settled on Brandon Rios. His rationale for picking the 27-year-old up-and-comer was pretty clear: He felt like this was the most winnable bout available.
While it remains to be seen how accurate that assessment truly was, the odds makers seem to agree with Pacquiao. Shortly after the match-up was announced, he was installed as a three-to-one favorite. And seeing as the Filipino star will head into this bout fresh off two losses in a row, one brutal knockout and an 11-month layoff, that’s actually a pretty strong statement by the odds makers.
Despite the fact that everyone seems to think he’ll drop this one, Rios believes that he’ll retire Pacquiao in November. He believes that he’ll be able to do to him what Marquez did to him, and he dismisses the popular theory that his relatively simple come-forward-at-all-times style will leave him open to a decision loss.
Rios is so confident in the fact that he’ll win his next fight, actually, that he’s already planning for the future. When asked during a recent interview with ESN News about who he’d like to take on over the next few years, Rios spouted off names that would only be available to him if he wins his next match.
"If I could pick, I would love to fight [Adrien] Broner, Danny [Garcia], and Lucas Matthysse." Rios said "Whatever order happens."
All three a very solid, obviously, but just as Pacquiao would be wise not to underrate Rios, Rios better not underestimate Pacquiao either. Sure, the former eight-division champ is coming off two losses – but only one was truly a legitimate defeat. And seeing as Rios is coming off a decision loss of his own, he’s sort of in the same boat.
Pacquiao could beat Rios by decision. Rios could beat Pacquiao by knockout or decision. But neither man is so noticeably better than the other that he can afford to take this next fight for granted.