Manny Pacquiao had the option of choosing between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios for his next fight. After being spurned by Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley, the former eight division champ compared and contrasted Alvarado’s and Rios’ styles, and ultimately came to the decision that the latter posed a better stylistic match-up.
We’ll all find out together this November whether Pacquiao made the right call, but either way, regardless of whether he matches up better against Rios or not, he better bring his A-game against the 27-year-old star.
Why? Because Rios is most definitely going to be bringing his A-game.
"I'm going to be ready," Rios told Ring Magazine. “Pacquiao is no joke. I'm getting ready for the best Pacquiao ever.
“But like I've been telling everybody, it's my time. I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. I've been promised Pacquiao or [Juan Manuel] Marquez for the longest time. Now, I've got Pacquiao, and I'm going to take this opportunity to go out and to dominate in every way that I can to come out victorious."
While there is a case to be made that, if Pacquiao fights the correct way, Rios does pose the better stylistic match-up for him, there is another immeasurable factor that needs to be taken into account: hunger.
Much like Pacquiao, Rios is coming off a loss. Unlike Pacquiao, though, Rios’ loss proved to be the first blemish on his record and one that he is eager to avenge. Youthful fighters tend to have a spirit that guys who are nearing the end of their careers simply can’t muster up – and that may ultimately prove to be the difference in this one.
Pacquiao is a favorite to beat Rios. If he does what he needs to do, Pacquiao should beat Rios. But if he doesn’t want this to be his last match ever, Pacquiao better not underestimate Rios. If he does, then this bout may end a lot like the Filipino champ’s last one did.