Manny Pacquiao is viewed as the favorite heading into his November 2013 showdown against Brandon Rios. Him being seen that way despite the fact that Rios will likely enter the bout with a clear size advantage is very indicative of the type of fight that fans are likely to see.
Even though Pacquiao’s camp has been telling everyone that their guy will be looking to knock his foe out in definitive fashion two months from now, that’s as unlikely now as it has been over Pacquiao’s last few matches. The truth is, he hasn’t knocked anyone out in four years. That doesn’t figure to change. He simply doesn’t have the power to do it anymore. And even if he did have the power, there’s a very good chance that Rios’ iron chin could withstand the best shots he has to offer.
No, if Pacquiao wins this match-up, it’ll be on the strength of his skill and speed. He won’t drop his foe for the long count, but he’ll out-point him en route to victory. And despite everything they’ve said up to this point, Pacquiao’s camp gets it.
During a recent interview with the Asian Correspondent, Buboy Fernandez indicated that conditioning and health will be absolutely essential in a bout that figures to go the distance.
When confronted with the fact that Pacquiao figures to be the smaller fighter on fight night, Fernandez said this: “We have the advantage in speed. Rios fights straight ahead.”
That’s exactly right. While Pacquiao will bob-and-weave for the better part of the match, Rios will likely stay true to the style that’s gotten him here. He’ll move forward, look to do damage and withstand whatever punishment is sent his way. That’s both a positive and a negative for him. On the negative side, it opens him up to taking a lot of hits. On the positive side, it allows him to connect with a lot of punches, too.
Realizing that his guy will inevitably absorb some punishment, Fernandez acknowledged that Pacquiao can’t be too small on fight night.
“What is important is that he is not underweight,” he admitted.
Pacquiao versus Rios will be a battle of styles. Whoever he can ensure that the fight is fought on their terms will likely emerge as the winner.