by L.D. Ramirez
Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) will attempt to convince naysayers that he’s still at the top of his game by facing off against former WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs).
Pacquiao and Rios are each guaranteed respective purses of USD 18 million and 4 million for the bout. But what’s really at stake here is the continuation of Pacquiao’s legacy in the ring, Rios’s future as a boxing superstar, and the vacant WBO International Welterweight title.
Although coming off his first-ever match loss (via unanimous decision, against Mike Alvarado), the Texas-born Rios is confident that he’ll clinch the victory and force the Filipino boxing legend into retirement. What he has going for him: a) he’s 8 years younger than Pacquiao, b) he’s got a slight height and reach advantage (4 cm and 3 cm respectively), c) welterweight is a more comfortable fit for him than lightweight, d) he’s got Pacquiao’s former strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza on his side, and finally, e) aside from his wife and kids, boxing is all he’s got.
On the other hand, having lost 2 matches in a row (the 1st via a controversial decision ruled in favor of Timothy Bradley, and the 2nd via a disastrous 6th round knockout dealt by bitter rival Juan Manuel Marquez), this is a fight that Manny Pacquiao cannot afford to lose. The renewed respect of the boxing community, higher paydays, rematches against Bradley and Marquez – a lot of things are riding on this fight. Pacquiao is aware of this and is doing his best to focus, despite a plethora of duties and distractions (he is also, among other things, a congressman, an actor, a singer, a businessman, and a philantrophist).
The match will take place on a Sunday morning in the Cotai Arena at Macau’s Venetian Resort Hotel. The cheapest tickets run for HKD $880 (PHP 4,888.20), but for just BND 3.50, you can watch this must-see slugfest live via pay-per-view at Ren Yi’s Cafeteria!
Bring your family and friends – it’s going to be loud!