Even though Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Juan Manuel Marquez this December, a lot of boxing fans seem to be more enthusiastic about how he'll start 2013 than how he'll end 2012. You can’t blame them. It’s not that Pacquiao versus Marquez IV is a bad match-up; in fact, it will probably be a lot more palatable than Pacquiao’s last fight.
No, the excitement regarding 2013 mostly stems from that the fact that the unknown is always more interesting than the known. We have a rough idea of what we’ll see in December; nobody knows what a fight between Pacquiao and someone he hasn’t squared off against yet would look like.
Last week, Bob Arum came out and publicly said that he wouldn’t mind seeing the winner of this past Saturday’s Brandon Rios versus Mike Alvarado fight take on Pacquiao. Well, Rios won that fight. And following the match, he was asked about what a showdown against the Filipino champ would mean to him.
"Tell me how you feel about fighting a fighter of that caliber," Max Kellerman asked (via RingTV).
"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.
"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."
And so it starts.
Presuming Pacquiao wins his next fight, Rios will be (at best) a backup option. The first choice for early 2013, obviously, is Floyd Mayweather Jr. If that doesn’t happen, then you have to figure that Rios’ name gets thrown into a “potential opponents” pile that already contains Miguel Cotto’s and Timothy Bradley’s names.
Rios doesn't have priority over anyone right now.
That said, good for him. He’s 26. He’s a good fighter. He’s bold. There is no reason for Rios to bite his tongue, especially not after the sort of win he earned this weekend. Worst case scenario, this will make for some interesting back-and-forths in the event a fight between him and Pacquiao does actually come together.