SAN DIEGO, November 23, 2013 – Eight division boxing champion Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines turned back the clock a decade in his unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios of the U.S.
Pacquiao’s masterful victory (55-5-2, 38 KOs) over Rios (31-2-1, 22 KOs) in Macau, China mirrored the situation in his home country. The win raised Pacquiao back up after his disastrous loss a year ago to Juan Manuel Marquez, permitting him to once again consider a future at the top of his sport. Likewise, the victory gave hope to an entire nation struggling to recover from the devastation of super typhoon Haiyan.
The fight will be aired in its entirety on HBO next Saturday, November 30, at 10:15 p.m. ET before its coverage of live boxing from Quebec City, Quebec.
Pacquiao was in command from the opening bell and never showed any weaknesses. After being away from the ring for a year, Pacquiao was light on his feet and swift with his hands, firing combinations seemingly at will throughout the fight to wear Rios down. He won by scores of 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110 on the scorecards.
The victory was an emotional one and an enormous relief for Pacquiao. “This is not about my comeback,” Pacquiao said in the ring. “My victory is a symbol of my people’s comeback from a natural disaster and a natural tragedy.”
Top Rank announced that Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach will sign the chest protector and mitts Roach wore while training Pacquiao for the fight and auction them to benefit the typhoon relief effort.
For those who expected Rios to be the aggressive fighter they’ve come to enjoy, the fight was a disappointment. Rios can take a few rounds to get going like most pressure fighters, but he never seemed to find any rhythm at all. He was slow and sometimes even sluggish. It wasn’t the Rios that thrilled fans in both of his fights against Mike Alvarado.
As a result, Rios found few opportunities to hit Pacquiao squarely with much of anything. Pacquiao’s ability to land punches and then move out of harm’s way was never more impressive or masterful than against Rios.
Rios suffered a cut under the left eye midway through the fight, and his right eye began to swell in the last few rounds. His face showed the kind of damage Pacquiao can do with a relentless, focused attack.
The numbers tell the story. According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 281 of 790 punches (36 percent, Rios was 138 of 502 (27 percent).
After the fight, Rios told HBO’s Max Kellerman “What can I say? I fought one of the greatest boxers in the world beside Mayweather … His speed got me a little bit.”
Funny Rios should mention Money. The talk has already gotten started about whether a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight can finally be made. When asked about it at the post-fight news conference, Pacquiao said, “I’m willing to fight Floyd; it’s up to him if he’s willing also.”
Long before that happens, Pacquiao will need at least another victory or two under his belt. Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank says Pacquiao will fight again on April 12. Arum has mentioned Singapore as a possible fight location. Chances are good the fight will be a rematch, either against Juan Manuel Marquez or Timothy Bradley Jr. The Bradley fight would make the most sense, particularly after Bradley’s defeat of Marquez a month ago.
Rios, 27, needs to go home and nurse his wounded pride, learn from his mistakes, and get back in front of the fans doing what he does best. Powerhouse puncher Ruslan Provodnikov, known as “The Siberian Rocky,” is being mentioned as a possible Rios opponent. Provodnikov nearly beat Timothy Bradley in a Fight of the Year matchup in March, then took out Mike Alvarado after Alvarado beat Rios in their rematch. Freddie Roach trains Provodnikov, so it would be a rematch for the trainers.
The undercard fights were mainly disappointments. Zou Shiming of China thrilled the hometown fans and showed developing professional style skills in a unanimous decision over Juan Tozcano of Mexico. Rising Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo also won a solid decision in his bout with Duanaaymukdahan Petchsamuthr of Thailand.
The only action in the heavyweight bout between Andy Ruiz of Mexico and Tor Hamer of the U.S. happened after the fight was over. Ruiz got a TKO victory after Hamer told his trainer he was done, refusing to come out for the fourth round. He did the same thing in a fight a year ago.
Promoter LouDiBella was so enraged by Hamer he took to Twitter to express his disgust with his fighter. “That is an embarrassment @TorHamer,” DiBella tweeted. “Time to become a pilot. Sorry to the fans. That is not #DBE” ( meaning DiBella Entertainment, his promotion company). In the next tweet, DiBella wrote “By the way, Tor, you are released. WTF!!” Then to really make it sting, DiBella said he would withhold Hamer’s paycheck. At least Hamer got a free trip to Macau out of the deal.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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