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Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios: Brilliant war or dazzling distraction?

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COMMENTARY | On Monday, Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole broke the news that eight-division world titlist Manny Pacquiao would be taking on former lightweight champ, Brandon Rios in a Nov. 24 (Nov. 23 in the U.S.) welterweight clash in the Chinese gaming capital of Macau.

Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz, speaking exclusively to Yahoo, also revealed that the bout would be taking place at the Venetian resort in Macau and distributed in the U.S. through HBO pay-per-view. In an innovative twist, the card will be available in China via online pay-per-view for the equivalent of $5 or $6 American dollars.

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Manny Pacquiao attends a post-fight news conference. (Reuters)

Pacquiao, who is now on a two-fight losing streak and hasn't looked pound-for-pound impressive since besting Antonio Margarito in 2010, will be looking to impress against an opponent tailor-made for his particular style.

"Rios isn't going to get in there and dance around and run around," Koncz told Iole. "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."

Pacquiao trainer, Freddie Roach, elaborated.

"Rios is a good fighter who fights well in the pocket, but he's more hittable," Roach told Yahoo. "I want to see Manny with a good performance. I think he can knock this guy out. It's a fight that if he wins it, would keep Manny in the pound-for-pound Top 10."

So, right off the bat, before any analysis of the Pacquiao-Rios match-up can be done, this should make things crystal clear that all main stage fighters, and not only the vilified visage of Floyd Mayweather, cherry-pick the "right" opponents. Frankly, when a fighter gets in a position to pick and choose his fights, he almost always does. It's not a matter of machismo, it's a matter of good business sense and it's a matter of keeping the cash flowing for as long as possible.

In Pacquiao's particular case, the choice of Rios means that eight of the Filipino Icon's last ten bouts have come against fighters rebounding from recent losses.

But having said that, this particular dip into the loser's column is not all that bad. Actually, the bout should be quite good.

Rios is coming off a March 30 unanimous decision loss to Mike Alvarado, but it was a very competitive bout that saw him battle through 12 tough rounds. Prior to that, a TKO7 victory over Alvarado and several other impressive performances make the case that Rios, at the very least, deserves to be in the same ring with someone as accomplished as Pacquiao.

The loudmouth brawler from Robert Garcia's gym in Oxnard, California has established a reputation as a come-forward battler with an irresistible will to win and a burning passion to fight. Rios, as an opponent, is all bluster and blister -- a fighter who will exhaust opponents with constant churning fists and non-stop aggression.

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Manny Pacquiao throws a right at Juan Manuel Marquez during their fight. (Getty)

To this date, the only glaring in-ring weakness for Rios is his inability to handle slick boxers, but that shouldn't be much of a factor in this upcoming clash. Pacquiao certainly has the ability to box circles around Rios, but will likely be looking for an impressive offensive win after being knocked out cold in his last bout with Juan Manuel Marquez.

Rios' other weakness involves weight issues, something that has cost him two world lightweight titles on the scales. However, he now has two fights under his belt at junior welterweight and there has yet to be any buzz about him struggling to make the 140-lb. limit. Moving up seven pounds to welterweight will give Rios even more of a comfort zone when it comes to weight against a fighter in Pacquiao, who is not a very big welter.

All in all, the match-up is superb and should give fans a quality night of action. While many would prefer for Pacquiao settle old scores with the two fighters to recently defeat him, a Rios war should be a nice temporary distraction.


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.

Source: Yahoo! Sports

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