Manny Pacquiao's next fight is set, as the Filipino superstar will return to the ring on November 23 in Macau, facing former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios in a 12-round welterweight bout, according to a report at Yahoo! Sports by Kevin Iole, from Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz.
The fight will air live on HBO pay-per-view, a match that pits two guys coming off of very convincing losses, with the hope that Pacquiao's name value combined with the promised action that Rios always brings to the table, will be enough to make this a major event even though it's a pair of guys looking to rebound.
It will sell more than enough to be profitable most likely, but will it sell enough that it doesn't wind up considered a flop? The last time Pacquiao had a "low" PPV figure was in 2009, when he sold "only" 700,000 pay-per-views against Joshua Clottey. Could this fight get back toward that number, rather than the automatic 1 million-plus we've come to expect?
Rios (31-1-1, 23 KO) lost to Mike Alvarado on March 30, a rematch of their 2012 Fight of the Year contender. It didn't live up to the all-out action of their first bout, but it was another excellent fight, and debatably better in that the boxing was superior, perhaps on both sides. Alvarado's game plan shift saw him box more and use angles, giving him advantages that Rios couldn't or wouldn't nullify.
Koncz says that Rios has been chosen due to the style matchup, in short saying that Rios is likely to be easier for Pacquiao than Alvarado would have been:
"Rios isn't going to get in there and dance around and run around," Koncz said. "He's going to come to fight. He'll move straight forward and try to brawl with Manny, and that's the kind of fight that will be very entertaining for the fans. Anyone who knows these two guys knows there's really no other way for them to fight."
Alvarado also is believed to have a hand injury, though there is conflicting talk about how serious that is. Denver sports radio host Brandon Spano said on Twitter that Alvarado does have a hand injury, but that "Mile High" Mike was Pacquiao's "last choice," and the Filipino preferred to face Rios. In the end, it sounds like Rios was simply the easier fight to get done, and Top rank is surely confident that they've got a fight that will do just fine on pay-per-view, as well as make some big money at The Venetian in Macau.
What are your thoughts on this fight? Will you be anxious to pay another $60-70 for this one, based on the matchup alone? Does the fact that they're both coming off of losses bother you at all, or is it just about the fight for you?