It goes without saying that Manny Pacquiao desperately needs a win this November. Any fighter who is coming off two consecutive defeats would need to break that streak sooner rather than later, but that is especially true in this case – with the Filipino star essentially in a race against his own boxing mortality.
At 34 years old Pacquiao has more mileage on his tires than just about any other big name star in the sport today, and given the end result of his last few bouts, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that time isn’t on his side.
Brandon Rios is coming into this showdown off a loss, too. He dropped a pretty obvious decision to Mike Alvarado, and he did so in a way that exposed the one major flaw in his game. If he were fighting anyone else on this go-round, he’d be viewed as the guy in a must-win situation. After all, it’s hard to scramble back to the top after back-to-back losses.
The reason why he’d ultimately get a pass in this situation, though, is because of his age and who he is fighting. At 27, he still has plenty of time to get into championship contention. As Amir Khan has made abundantly clear in recent times, no matter how bad you look in your losses, so long as you’re young and hungry you can scramble back to the top with a few solid victories. The same won’t hold true for Pacquiao. He’s out of time – and Rios’ camp understands that.
During a recent interview with Boxing Scene, Rios’ trainer Robert Garcia made it clear that they know their opponent will be fighting like someone who has his back against the wall. They fully realize tat Pacquiao will be "in the best shape ever because it is a make or break fight for him and if he loses he may retire."
He added: "That’s why we know he’ll have the best preparation ever. We know Manny is a superstar and he’ll be better than ever."
No argument there. When a fight is facing a scenario like the one that Pacquiao currently facing, they go into caged animal mode. Will that be enough? It’s impossible to say for sure. However, this much is certain: this is as close to a must win fight as Pacquiao has had in his illustrious career.