Heading into Saturday night’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, most knowledgeable boxing fans had a pretty clear idea of how the bout would end. There were only two options. Either Pacquiao would prevail via a decision, or Rios would win by way of a knockout.
There were no other possibilities.
A week or so ago, Freddie Roach tried to spin a tale about how Pacquiao would finish Rios off early. It was pure, unfiltered nonsense. The Filipino superstar, although noticeably more talented than his foe, hadn’t ended a fight early since 2009. His inability to put away a broken, hobbled Timothy Bradley in 2012 spoke volumes of his power; he’s just not that sort of fighter anymore. Plus, Rios’ chin is made of granite. He’s a one-dimensional fighter who got as far as he has based on pure toughness and grit.
There was only one path to victory for Pacquiao against Rios, and he found it last night.
Pacquiao, 34, dominated his opponent from start to finish. He punished Rios with well-placed body shots. He kept up a furious pace that his foe couldn’t deal with. He consistently looked as though he were set to a different speed setting than the guy he was fighting. In the end, the judges scored it 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110. The second score was the correct one; aside from the third round, this match wasn’t even competitive. If Rios weren’t so tough, it probably could’ve been stopped in the seventh.
The question now becomes: what’s next for Pacquiao? The options are pretty limited. It has to be Floyd Mayweather Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, or Bradley. Bradley would appear to be the most likely option, but time will tell.
Check out the full highlights of Pacquiao vs. Rios in the video below.