Macau takes centre stage tonight as former pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao and ex-world champion Brandon Rios vie to end their losing records in what has been billed by Bob Arum as ‘The Clash in Cotai.’
Pacquiao has plenty to prove following his much-publicized knockout defeat to career rival Juan Manuel Marquez. He needs to put in a strong performance to silence the doubters who say his best is far behind him.
For Rios, this fight represents a golden opportunity. It has distinct similarities to when Timothy Bradley was given his chance to take on the ‘Pacman,’ and we all know how that ended in the summer of 2012.
Looking at the two on the scales, neither stood out as being in the best shape of their lives, although punters at the arena in China and viewing on pay-per-view can expect a toe-to-toe battle from start to finish.
On experience alone, Pacquiao is the favorite but add to that his blistering speed and concussive power. It is hard to make a case for Rios, even though the same could have been saying for Bradley when he took a highly contentious decision.
Let’s hope that the three ringside judges are insignificant in tonight’s encounter and that all the boxing fans come away talking about are how two brave warriors gave their all in one of the Fights of the Year.
On to the prediction, and I have to favor Pacquiao tonight, possibly via a stoppage, in a contest that will see both boxers come away from Asia with their reputations enhanced from the precarious position they currently find themselves in.
Rios will fight with his heart on his sleeve as he always does, and this could ultimately be his undoing as Pacquiao piles on the pressure. ‘Bam Bam’ may well succumb to this relentlessness from the Filipino Congressman in the second half of the fight, and a first stoppage loss of his career could be on the cards.
Roll on the Mayweather v Pacquiao May 3 rumor mill on November 24.
Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay for tweets of upcoming news on WBN.
Manny Pacquiao v Brandon Rios is live on BoxNation from Macau, China, on November 23. To subscribe to the UK, click any BoxNation link or banner on the WBN website.