Both fighters head into the tasty-looking clash on the back of defeats, which possibly could have been in the Filipino’s thoughts when overlooking Rios conqueror Mike Alvarado, and sees Pacquiao look to get back to winning ways outside of the US.
It will be the first time in some seven years that Pacquiao will fight in Asia, with the Venetian Macau Hotel in China setting the stage for the contest. The whole of boxing is keen to witness how the ‘Pacman’ comes back from his wincing knockout loss to Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez last December and whether the subsequent time away has any bearing.
At 34, Pacquiao is surely not ready for the scrapheap yet as some are suggesting, and the marauding style of Rios could potentially bring out the best in the one-time pound for pound number one, who still hunts Floyd Mayweather and a fifth fight with Marquez.
27 year-old Rios is himself attempting to build a legacy in the sport and will be no pushover, although I fear it may be a bridge too far for the Oxnard protégé, who has not looked dominant since his July 2011 knockout of former super-featherweight Urbano Antillon.
‘Bam Bam’ toppled an out-of-depth John Murray, before claiming a highly-disputed decision over Richard Abril and was only slightly ahead on the cards when pulling out an impressive stoppage of Mike Alvarado upon his move up to 140lbs. We all know what happened in this years’ rematch between those two and a third fight is almost certain to happen in the first quarter of 2014 as Alvarado contemplates his own future fight.
Fans can expect another entertaining fight come November though as the Macau encounter sees two warriors go head-to-head in a potential no holds barred bruiser. Neither will give ground or take a backward step for the duration and a punishing war is definitely on the cards – which may see fans clambering for Pacquiao v Rios II next year, rather than a meeting for the eventual victor with Marquez or Bradley.