Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring on November 23 in Macau, China, taking on Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios in a fight which will be televised live in the U.S. on HBO Pay-Per-View. This is a fight that has already produced a lot of mixed opinions, and there are positives and negatives about the match to be certain.
On the one hand, Rios is a fighter near-guaranteed to be produce excitement. His style should mesh with Pacquiao’s to create real fireworks. Both men are aggressive, hard-punching and active, and Rios is always game to get in there and wing away. With Pacquiao coming off a brutal knockout defeat, Rios and his team may feel that they’ll be able to shake him up, and potentially score a stoppage victory.
Looking at the matter from the opposite perspective, Rios is coming off the first loss of his career. He’s moving up to 147 pounds for the opportunity, after only having had two official bouts at Junior Welterweight — which he split against Mike Alvarado.
Even before the loss, while he was regarded as one of the best fighters in the division (ProBoxing-Fans.com currently has him ranked as the #6 Junior Welterweight), many pegged him as an easy target for Pacquiao — wide open to be hit, and not quick enough to keep up with the pace.
Of course, his dogged determination and warrior’s instincts go a long way to erasing those deficiencies. Combined with his chin, he should at least be able to force Pacquiao to work.
For Pacquiao, it’s an immense opportunity to connect with his global and Asian-centric fan base. And for Top Rank, it’s an even more immense opportunity for them to cash in on that phenomenon.
The fight will take place in the morning in Macau, so that it can be broadcast live to the U.S. and be in primetime.
Another downside to this match is that it’s being put on Pay-Per-View. As the main event of a regular HBO World Championship Boxing card, this fight has a great deal of appeal and drawing power. As the headline fight of a likely $70 PPV, it’s easy to look at the negative half of that coin – two fighters coming off a loss and being matched up in questionable circumstances.
We’ll have more details on Pacquiao vs. Rios over the coming days, so stay tuned for the latest news and updates.