Brandon Rios was supposed to be next for Manny Pacquiao, as an April 20 fight between the two was in the works, with Pacquiao needing to beat Juan Manuel Marquez this past Saturday to really put the wheels in motion.
Of course, we all know what happened: Marquez knocked Pacquiao out cold in the sixth round, and it looks like Rios' dream of a big money, big event fight was knocked out with Manny.
That doesn't mean Rios will have chopped liver up next. With Manny out of the picture, Lance Pugmire reports that Bob Arum is now targeting a March return for the all-action star, and a rematch with Mike Alvarado.
Rios (31-0-1, 23 KO) and Alvarado (33-1, 23 KO) tore into one another on October 13 in a fight that managed to not just meet insanely high expectations, but actually exceed them. It's a very easy argument as the 2012 Fight of the Year still, and a rematch was discussed in the immediate aftermath.
But with Top Rank low on Pacquiao foes, Rios was penciled in as the likely next in line. With the Marquez loss, no one can be quite sure what Manny wants to do next -- he says he'll fight again, but nobody knows when, or what type of fight he'll want in his first bout back from a crushing knockout loss.
Rios, though he'd have been coming up in weight and facing by far a career-best opponent, might not be a risk worth taking at the moment, for Pacquiao or Top Rank. And with Pacquiao's value relatively low at the moment, it's a bigger risk for Rios, too.
So the Alvarado rematch, which fight fans will want to see -- some still feel the plug was pulled too early by referee Pat Russell -- becomes about the best possible fight for Rios at the moment. Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley are also hanging around and waiting to find out what's next, and it wouldn't be a surprise if eventually, they wound up in with one another, should Marquez choose to fight on (most expect he will). Bradley is currently tentatively scheduled to return February 9, a date that could serve as a tune-up bout before something major.