With a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios now official for November 23 in Macau, there has been some debate about how big of a fight this will be, and whether or not Rios, coming off of a loss, should be getting this opportunity. Few, however, disagree that the fight could be something special in terms of action.
Rios' trainer Robert Garcia is thinking along the same lines:
"It is going to be a very exciting fight and Manny has always been in tremendous fights, very exciting fights and so has Brandon. This is going to be a very exciting fight, a very explosive fight both ways. Both fighters have tremendous heart and both have tremendous power. It's going to be a great fight."
Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO) suffered his first loss on March 30, dropping a 12-round decision to Mike Alvarado in a terrific fight that followed their 2012 instant classic, where Rios stopped Alvarado. Pacquiao has lost two straight, including a vicious KO loss to rival Juan Manuel Marquez in December, but is still one of the biggest money men in boxing, and with the fight taking place in Macau, we could see a phenomenal live crowd for this one, and a lot of money generated.
Part of the appeal is going to, for once, be something that isn't a lie in promotion. These two guys should have a great fight. Rios has a style that Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO) can shine against, and it's also a chance for Brandon to break through to that next level, win or lose, really. Rios will always be attractive for big fights because he approaches everyone the same way. He looks to take their heart and crush it with constant pressure. Combined with a granite chin he's lot afraid to expose to incoming fire, you've got an all-action star, without question.
It's a matchup that works for Manny, works for their team, and gives Rios the biggest chance of his career. This isn't what Bob Arum had in mind when he considered Pacquiao-Rios before their recent losses, and isn't as big a fight if they'd both been coming in riding big wins. But it's still pretty good, simply because the fight should be great fun to watch.
Whether that sells a pay-per-view will remain to be seen.