Manny Pacquiao is in as much of a win-win situation as any fighter can be given the circumstances. While his decision to take on Brandon Rios and not Mike Alvarado is questionable, it’s the one he apparently felt was best for his career. And regardless of who boxing aficionados feel poses the better match-up for him stylistically, it’s hard to deny that this is going to work out for him either way.
If he were to have agreed to fight Juan Manuel Marquez or Timothy Bradley and then lost, both defeats would have been damaging to his overall legacy. His all-time record with Marquez would have been tied at 2-2, and his mark against Bradley would have been 0-2. By fighting Rios, Pacquiao ensures that no long-lasting, memorable conclusions about his career will be reached regardless of outcome. If he loses to a 27-year-old star on the come-up, so what? He’s washed up anyway. Rios will just be another fighter – nothing more, nothing less.
However, if somehow Pacquiao manages to pull out a victory, that will completely and totally reinvigorate his career. Rios has an iron chin so there’s no way he’s getting knocked out – but he could get outpointed. And if that happens, Pacquiao will be right back in the driver’s seat for a high quality, much talked bout. Maybe Floyd Mayweather Jr. Maybe Amir Khan. The options are endless, really.
It’s always hard to label an event where one person officially comes out a loser as a win-win, but it’s alo hard to make the case that this Rios fight will do irreparable harm to Pacquiao one way or the other. Thus, it’s a win-win. Or at least as much of a win-win as anything in boxing can be.