COMMENTARY | It's still more than five months away , yet the feelings of anticipation are great for the November 23 clash in Macau, China between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios.
Meanwhile, another blockbuster will be taking place two months before the one in Macau. It involves America's biggest boxing star against Mexico's biggest draw-and it's greatly anticipated as well, just not in the same way.
Even as Golden Boy Promotions announces its plans for an eleven city tour to hype their mega-fight, just as much curiosity and attention is aimed at Pacquiao-Rios, even without Top Rank having spent a dollar so far on promotion.
It's not that Mayweather-Alvarez isn't a good fight. There are many reasons to believe that "Canelo" could be Mayweather's toughest challenge since Jose Luis Castillo and, other than Pacquiao, there's no other opponent that makes more sense for him to fight. At the end of the day, Mayweather-Alvarez is sure to do quite well as a pay-per-view and it's almost guaranteed to outsell Pacquiao-Rios.
But, still, there's something about Pacquiao-Rios that's missing from Mayweather-Alvarez.
"Right now we don't know where Pacquiao is and where he's at physically and mentally after the spectacular loss he took," respected trainer Nazeem Richardson recently said in a video interview. "I've always known him to be a little tough son of a gun, but we know that sometimes guys don't bounce back from that kind of demise...An annihilation of that magnitude could put him in a place mentally where we may have seen the last of that Manny Pacquiao."
Yes. What has become of Manny? What will become of Manny? What happens when he takes his first flush shot or, perhaps, if he gets wobbled by a punch? And what about "Bam Bam" Rios? He's hardly the type of foe you want to see if you are not 100%
"As we know, Brandon Rios is just a rough son of a gun," Richardson continued. "I've known him since the amateurs-- bring a lunch, no matter who fights him. He's gonna be rough, he's not gonna take a back step, he's not gonna back down."
This is hardly an easy tune-up for Pacquiao after a brutal knockout loss. Rios is a vicious, relentless thug in the ring and actually enjoys the brutality of the sport.
"It's gonna be an all out war," Rios told Doghouse boxing. "I think it will be a bloody mess, he's gonna go crazy, I'm gonna go crazy, it's just gonna be a great fight, you know. I say a war, a bloody war, that's what it's going to be."
The Mexican-American brawler also knows quite well what this opportunity means to him and to his career:
"I've gotta make a statement in this one, I've gotta go out with the win...a win over him would put me on top of the world, it would get me out there with the big, big names and everything."
Looking back at Mayweather-Canelo, though, we have a bout between two consummate professionals who, even with a loss, would come back and be just fine. A loss for Mayweather would cost him his precious undefeated record, but would probably make for a bigger event next time out as he seeks his revenge. A loss for Alvarez will be little more than a learning experience for a 23-year-old future superstar who will continue to be a major player on the scene.
For the loser of Pacquiao-Rios, there may be no tomorrow.
A third consecutive loss for Pacquiao would likely send him into retirement and a full-time life of politics and showbiz. A loss for Rios, considering that he lost in his last bout against Mike Alvarado, will stop him from joining the 1% elite of the sport and keep him stuck in his role as entertaining supporting act.
That's the reason Pacquiao-Rios will likely be the better, more emotionally charged event. It's a matter of comparing two battlers in a must-win scenario with two cold, calculating boxers in a boxing "event."
Hopefully, both fights go on to be memorable wars, but the smart money is on Pacquiao-Rios to overshadow Mayweather-Alvarez.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. 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.
Sources: ESNews, Doghouse Boxing
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