Not me. Here are my top 5 reasons why Manny Pacquiao will prevail on Saturday and defeat Rios.
Manny Pacquiao is no stranger to big fights, of course, sharing the stage with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, amongst others. Rios lacks the experience that these major pay-per-view fights bring. The closest Rios has come to a big fight were his two fights against Mike Alvarado.
Pacquiao has been here before, he knows what it takes to win, and he knows how to make the adjustments necessary to do so.
2. Superior Boxing Skills
Despite losing his last two bouts, one by highly controversial decision, Pacquiao still showed signs of quick hand speed and vicious punching power. Although his skills may have become slightly diminished, as is typical when a boxer ages, he still possesses the much better skill set. Moreover, Pacquiao throws ferocious combinations and uses his slick footwork to create different angles. The grit and toughness of Rios doesn’t compare to the skill of the Filipino icon.
This is the perfect opponent for Pacquiao to rebound against. Rios is tailor-made for Pacquiao’s style because he loves to fight in the pocket and comes straight forward. This is the type of fight in which Pacquiao thrives stylistically.
Pacquiao will trade and won’t have to worry about Rios running around the ring at all. Pacquiao also has better ring generalship, and will be able to control the pace of the fight. Earlier in Pacquiao’s career he earned the nickname the “Mexecutioner” for beating up on opponents such as Morales, Barrera, Marquez and others. He also dismantled Antonio Margarito, who many see as a bigger version of Rios.
4. The Weight
Rios has fought most of his career at 135 lbs. Pacquiao has been consistently fighting at 140-147 pounds for quite some time, and during that stretch, he has fought much bigger men including Cotto, De La Hoya, Joshua Clottey, and Margarito. Rios will have to make the transition to a bigger weight class that he’s never fought at before. Even though he has struggled with weight issues in the past, typically when a boxer moves up in weight, he loses some of his punching power. Rios claims he won’t be affected by the weight, but it might be a different story on fight night.
5. Pride of a Nation
Manny Pacquiao is a man of the people, and he’s a huge icon in the Philippines, inside of the ring and out, where he’s also a congressman. After his last two fights, a nation was left flabbergasted and Manny knows it. Furthermore, he knows how much this fight means to the people of the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, saying:
“I enter this fight stronger than ever. I have the strength of my country and my people coursing through my body. I fight for them, not for me. I fight for their glory, not mine.”
Even if it’s only for a couple of hours, the fight will allow Filipinos to think of something else for a brief period of time. A win for Pacquiao would give the people something to be happy about. Pacquiao understands this, and in turn, will be motivated like never before to pull out a win.