Manny Pacquiao needs to beat Brandon Rios this November. For all the talk about what’s to come in 2014, it’s worth remembering that Rios has exactly one loss on his record. And that one loss came via decision to a guy he thoroughly beat down in their first fight.
Rios is no slouch, and anyone who is underestimating the challenge he poses to Pacquiao is in for a shocker.
That being said, there’s a reason why Pacquiao has been a favorite since the very beginning. His style, presuming he doesn’t just sit there like a log and wait to get knocked out again, is exactly the kind you need to pull out a decision victory over Rios. If he follows the right gameplan, he should emerge from their November bout victorious.
Which brings us to the obvious question: Then what?
A lot of people have linked Pacquiao to a possible Dream Match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. set for early next year. The reason why is clear – because he doesn’t have all that many other options. Heading into 2013, his list of potential opponents looked like this: Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Mike Alvarado and Rios.
Pacquiao will fight Rios this November, and Marquez will fight Bradley this October. Let’s suppose Bradley wins. If that were to happen, theoretically Pacquiao-Bradley II could go down. However, their first match-up was a box officer stinker, and it’s unlikely that the second one would be any different. Now let’s assume Marquez wins. Given his history with Pacquiao, a fifth showdown would be a sellout, right? Right. One problem, though: Marquez isn’t interested.
“My quest for a historic fifth world championship in a five different weight divisions is very important to me,” he said in a recent interview with World Boxing News. “I felt that I beat Manny Pacquiao in our third fight in November of 2011 and that I had earned the WBO welterweight title that night and I was very upset that it was taken away from me by the judges.
“But now that Tim Bradley has that belt I want it more than ever. I also felt that the fans wanted to see something new. The first two fights with Pacquiao were very close, the third I won easily and in the fourth I knocked him out cold, so as far as I am concerned, we are done with Pacquiao.”
So, best case 2014 scenario: Bradley and Alvarado are Pacquiao’s lone alternatives to Mayweather. Worst case: Just Alvarado.
Compared to what a showdown versus Alvarado would net, Pacquiao would be better off just accepting a fixed sum from Mayweather with no PPV points.