The first half of 2013 has been filled with great fights.
After a memorable conclusion to 2012, there were a lot of skeptics out there who wondered what the future would hold for a sport that is perpetually viewed as one bout away from extinction. Despite the naysayers, though, the first six months of the new year have been fantastic – and the second six promise to be even better.
Tops on the agenda, of course, are showdowns featuring boxing’s two biggest stars: Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. While the pair won’t be fighting one another this year, they will be squaring off against two formidable foes.
Pacquiao will look to bounce back from his devastating knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez with a victory over Brandon Rios. Although Rios isn’t the household name Marquez is, he is more than capable of challenging his opponent. His come-forward-at-all-times style will either perfectly play into Pacquiao’s strengths or it’ll set him up for a career-defining knockout win. Either way, it’ll be fascinating to watch.
Two months before that match-up, however, fans will get to see Mayweather take on Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Despite only being 23, Alvarez is widely seen as the only legitimate challenge to Mayweather’s throne. How much of a challenge he actually is can be argued, but there is no debating that Mayweather accepted the toughest opponent made available to him on this go-round.
All of which brings us to the most obvious question at hand: which fight will be better?
Well, from a purely technical standpoint, Mayweather-Alvarez will be better. Nobody, absolutely nobody in boxing, boasts the technical skill that Mayweather does. He has been putting on a clinic on how to do damage while avoiding taking damage since he first entered the ring, and that’s unlikely to change against Alvarez. From an entertainment standpoint, though, it’s almost a lock that Pacquiao-Rios will be more interesting.
When you combine Rios’ aggressive style with the propensity Freddie Roach’s fighters seem to have for prioritizing offense over defense, you have all of the makings of a barnburner. Whereas Mayweather-Alvarez will likely end with the former winning via decision, anything can happen in Pacquiao-Rios. Pacquiao can win by decision. Rios can win by KO. Heck, it’s unlikely, but Rios could possibly even pull a Timothy Bradley and win via decision.
The sheer uncertainty associated with Pacquiao-Rios makes it all but a sure thing that it’ll be the most exciting fight of 2013 when it’s all said and done.