Rumors of Manny Pacquiao’s demise as a major force in boxing have been greatly exaggerated as he easily handled Brandon Rios in a unanimous decision.
Pacquiao dominated Rios in their HBO pay-per-view showdown on Saturday night – or Sunday morning in Macau, China, where the fight took place – using his superior speed and skill.
The result played out much as many boxing insiders and fans predicted. While the tough Rios is a formidable foe, and he unofficially weighed 159 pounds on fight night, coming into the ring as a full-sized middleweight, his lack of defense or a refined approach left him all too vulnerable against the footwork, quickness and angles which Pacquiao presents his opponents.
The official scorecards read 120-108, 119-109, 118-110 for Pacquiao. According to Compubox numbers, Pacquiao landed 281 of 790 punches, a 36% connect rate, compared to 138 of 502 for Rios, a 27% rate.
Rios’s face showed the damage by the end of the night. Bleeding and badly swollen, the man who clamored so much in the pre-fight buildup to get hit and feel that sensation in the ring got more than he bargained for against the Filipino legend.
Pacquiao improved to 54-5-2 with 38 KOs. Rios fell to 31-2-1. So what’s next for Pacquiao? He could face Timothy Bradley in a rematch, fight arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez for the fifth time, or look towards a friend and sparring partner, Ruslan Provodnikov.
His promoter, Bob Arum, even tossed out the idea of a Floyd Mayweather fight in 2014. Whoever it ends up being, he’ll have to be ready to fight a Manny Pacquiao who is very much still a world-class fighter.
Contact us at [email protected].