Manny Pacquiao will take on Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time in eight years this Saturday. The stakes are pretty clear. If he loses, his career is all but over. Getting defeated because a couple of incompetent judges inexplicably decided to make a statement is one thing; two consecutive losses (regardless of how they happen) is a whole different animal. If Pacquiao loses to Marquez, for all intents and purposes, his career as a legitimate top-tier pound-for-pounder will be over.
If he wins, though, then all attention will quickly turn to who his next opponent will be.
You will recall, in early October, right before Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado were set to clash, Bob Arum announced that the winner of that bout might earn a shot at Pacquiao in 2013. (It sort of went without saying that the idea was contingent how good the winner looked in victory.) Well, not only did Rios win – he won in dominant fashion.
In the aftermath, some began buzzing about a potential Pacquiao versus Rios showdown; however, it never seemed like people really got behind the idea. Be it because Rios is still relatively unknown amongst less in the loop boxing fans, or because folks didn’t think this match would be a good one stylistically, the possibility of this fight being made in 2013 never really picked up much steam.
Recently, Chris Robinson of The Examiner spoke with Rios about a number of things – including potentially fighting Pacquiao. It was a fascinating conversation and you should definitely read the whole thing, but check out the sections pertaining to a possible fight versus Manny below.
Open to a match with Manny Pacquiao…
“If Bob Arum and Cameron Dunkin want me to fight Manny Pacquiao next, I’ll fight him. Go up to 147, win that fight, come back down to 140, clean out 140, and then go back to 147. It’s not like it’s going to be hard for me to make 147. As you can see, I make 140 pretty comfortably. 147 would be the same sh*t. I’ll clean both divisions out, why not?”
Whether or not Pacquiao’s heart is still in boxing…
“Yeah, why not? If he’s still fighting, why not? That means his heart is still in the game. He’s got a tough test in front of him, that’s Marquez again. That’s going to be a great fight. We’ll be at that fight.”
Finding a way to beat Pacquiao…
“What’s it going to take to beat Manny Pacquiao? What I’ve been doing for the last, since I’ve been boxing, for eight years. Pressure, pressure, pressure. Fight, fight, fight. Keep coming, don’t stop. I’m the next Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. I’m the next one coming up and I’m just ready to be the best out there.
Rios’ responses were intriguing for a couple of reasons. First, obviously he is interested in the fight – and understandably so. It could mean the biggest payday of his career, plus a good bit of notoriety from boxing’s mainstream fans that may not have been following his career up to now. The other reason it was intriguing, though, is because he isn’t pressing matters. He’s being respectful. You don’t see him calling Pacquiao out or throwing a Timothy Bradley-like tantrum – he knows patience is key. If Bob Arum and Cameron Dunkin want me to fight Manny Pacquiao next… is a lot different than what other fighters in Rios’ position would say.
Presuming Pacquiao beats Marquez next week, his options as far as next bout go are pretty limited. Miguel Cotto’s recent loss takes him out of the 2013 equation. Floyd Mayweather has more or less committed to fighting someone else. Who is left besides Rios? Bradley?
What do you think: who is the best possible foe for Pacquiao in 2013?
(Kudos The Examiner)