By: Dallas Orysiuk
There is no questioning that Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios like to fight; but leading up to this fight that’s all that it was. There didn’t seem to be any bad blood, the two were all smiles on the press tour, and both guys just wanted to get into the ring, take care of business, kick some ass and have fun in the process.
But realistically there was bad blood lingering… recently, Freddie Roach, Manny Pacquiao’s trainer fired the abrasive and long-time strength and condition coach Alex Ariza. In Pacquiao’s recent camps there has been some tension between the two, which led to the firing of Ariza. To add to the drama, Robert Garcia and Brandon Rios hired Ariza as their strength and conditioning coach.
Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, depending upon how you look at it, Manny Pacquiao’s camp arrived at the gym in Macao only to find Rios’ camp still there. Roach began to confront the party, calling Robert Garcia a “Mexican mother f**ker”. There was yelling and Alex Ariza kicked Freddie Roach. Another member of Brandon’s camp began to throw punches at Roach, calling him racist in the process. The scene got ugly quick… and hopefully it is a sign for what is coming this weekend.
Manny Pacquiao, 54-5-2 (38 KOs), the fighter of the decade is one of boxing’s biggest stars. At one time Pacquiao was considered at the top of the sport, with his only competition being Floyd Mayweather. Fast forward a couple of years and Pacquiao has lost his last two fights; his last one being by brutal knockout.
At age 34, Manny Pacquiao is at a crossroads. Fans question if he is past his prime, people question his hunger and others question if Manny Pacquiao was overrated to begin with. One thing is certain however, and that’s that Pacquiao has given the fans some tremendous battles. His fight against Rios is a must win fight, and it is a fight where he must look good. If he loses it will be the end of Manny Pacquiao and the end of an era in boxing.
Brandon Rios, 31-1-1 (23 KOs) was chosen because he is a fighter Manny Pacquiao should look good against. There is no questioning that Brandon Rios is beatable, but he will go out swinging, making it an entertaining affair while it lasts. Rios will not pull a Mosley, if he is outclassed, he will go out on his shield. In the past Pacquiao has had problems with boxers, and fighters who can fight defensively… Rios is NOT that guy. Rios will come at you and he will come at you hard. Rios has limited defense but he loves to fight. He will get on the inside, and unload vicious power shots. It is not pretty but it is fun to watch.
But even a fight that should be a winnable one is surrounded by many questions. Is Manny Pacquiao past his prime? Will he ever be the same after the knockout? Is his chin shot? If the latter is the case, Rios may be the one who retires Manny Pacquiao, because he can hit. Will the addition of Ariza help Rios? In the past he has had trouble with his weight, and now this will be his first fight at welterweight. Or will Rios suffer his second defeat and be known as not much more than a crude brawler?
There is also the question of the location; how will the fight do in China? Will Macao become a newly found boxing haven?
Whatever the case is, the fight should be a good one. Even if he is outclassed; Rios will go out swinging and make it an entertaining and bloody scrap. And if Rios pulls off the upset we will witness the coming of a new superstar and where it is out with the old and in with the new.by