COMMENTARY | Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios is definitely the B-side of his upcoming November 23 bout with Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China, but he's fuming over the idea that the media is already downplaying his chances of defeating his iconic Filipino rival.
Business considerations may make him an afterthought in the fan-friendly match-up, but Rios is letting the world know that his B-side status has nothing to do with his ability to take Pacquiao to war.
Speaking to Chris Robinson of Hustleboss.com, Rios made it clear that he didn't care a bit about reports of a "prime" Pacquiao reemerging in camp or how the eight-division former world champ has been manhandling sparring partners.
"I ain't no sparring partner," Rios told Robinson. "I don't give a [expletive] how you look against sparring partners. You can look great against sparring partners. But you're not going to fight a sparring partner. You're fighting me. And I ain't no sparring partner. At the end of the day, that's good. I hope he's doing good, so we can have a great fight and give the fans what they want."
But Rios, clearly affected by an almost unanimous reluctance to give him much of a chance against Pacquiao, took things even further.
"Everybody thinks that I'm a pushover, I'm a punching bag, I'm a tune-up fight," Rios fumed. "I ain't nobody's tune-up fight and if Freddie Roach thinks that, he's got something else coming to him. I'm going to show the world, man. I don't know what else to say. I'm going to show the world and I'm going to show Freddie Roach that I'm no tune-up fight."
Indeed, Brandon Rios is no pushover. The former lightweight champ has proven himself to be one of boxing's most tenacious and effective offensive fighters over the last several years. A come forward battler with an underrated skill set, Rios' only perceivable personal weakness is one related to his inability to make an artificially low fighting weight. This is a problem that may be resolved with the addition of former Pacquiao strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza and a move up to the welterweight division.
Stylistically, Rios, like most come-forward fighters, struggles against boxers and those who show educated movement in the ring. But how likely is it that Pacquiao, looking to rebound and impress after an embarrassing face-first knockout loss, will choose to adopt a Mayweather-like approach to this fight? Pacquiao has the skills to outbox Rios, but it's not in his character to earn a "cute" win. Pacquiao will "bring it" to Rios, at least enough for there to be a battle and for Rios to lay hands on Pacquiao.
If there's anything resembling a war on November 23, Brandon Rios has a legitimate chance of, perhaps, ending the career of Manny Pacquiao with a third-straight loss. It won't be an easy task to beat a fighter at Pacquiao's level and, especially, one who finds himself backed up against the proverbial wall in a "must-win" situation.
But Rios is the type of fighter who seems to feed on the negativity of doubters and critics and those who give him no shot at the upset. An underdog lost boy always fighting for pride and redemption, Rios is actually right where he wants to be prior to the biggest fight of his career. Doubt and dismissal is his fuel.
It still remains to be seen, though, whether he'll have enough of that fuel to torch one of this generation's greatest.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manny Pacquiao
- Brandon Rios