Will Manny Pacquiao regain glory?
The most anticipated fistic war of the year will take place in, Macao, China, on Saturday, November 23, 2013.
I can almost guarantee that every boxing fan is going to be there or are going to be “glued” to their television sets around the world to bear witness to a brutal fight between two explosive little giants of the squared circle.
Their “d.n.a.” in the ring is to be as savage as possible, but outside of the squared circle, they are as silent and gentle as lambs with family and friends almost like chameleons as they prepare for their encounter in the Orient, both predicting knockout victories.
In a special championship match, for the vacant W.B.O. International Welterweight Title, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, 54-5-2, 38 knockouts, will meet Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 33-1-1, 23 KO’s, and former N.A.B.F. and W.B.A. 135 pound title holder, in a “winner take all, last man standing”, fight for ring supremacy, thanks to Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.
Through 11 cities including some in Asia, these 2 warriors traveled to publicize this mega event that for the first time in boxing history will take place elsewhere as opposed to the usual United States areas like Las Vegas, California and New York. Why?
Because Mr. Arum in his wisdom of inclusive promotion wanted to include the other part of the world that is also a very avid boxing fan and that for decades had been ignored. Remember Don King’s, “Rumble in the Jungle”, October 30, 1974 with Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman in what was then Zaire, and also the “Thrilla in Manila” October 1, 1975, with Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier?
These classics weren’t located exactly “around the corner”, and we were all glued to our television sets. Through our H.B.O.’s pay-per-per view connection we may witness what many feel or perhaps anticipate to be the fight of the year.
Who is going to win this leather Samurai feud in Macao, China?
Emmanuel Dapidran (Manny ) Pacquiao, who is also known as the “PacMan”, started to fight amateur at the young age of 14, with a short record of only 60-4 fights, he then turned pro in 1995 at age 16, weighing only 98 pounds, and was only 4’11 inches tall.
Manny won 11 straight fights before suffering a loss in his 12th fight via a 3rd round k.o. Undaunted, Pacquiao continued to fight, winning his next 15 straights fights as he won his first 2 world titles, the Lineal and W.B.C. Flyweight Crowns as his weight increased.
Pacquiao then went on to win the W.B.C. International Super Bantamweight Championship, which he successfully defended 5 times before his big break of arriving in the United States in June 23, 2001, to fight I.B.F. Super Bantamweight Champion, Lehlochonolo Ledwaba, knocking him out and earning another world title.
He defended that title 4 times under the tutelage of trainer, Freddy Roach.
The rest was history as the saying goes, because Manny Pacquiao became a household name electrifying the boxing world winning 8 consecutive world titles in 10 weight divisions, and in 2010, he was named Fighter of the Decade, plus the modern day Henry Armstrong.
During those times Pacquiao, also was named pound for pound ring icon who fought the best at his weight level, 3 classic fights with Eric “El Terrible” Morales, 2 with Marcos Antonio Barrera, and of course his 3 wars with Juan Manuel Marquez, then Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and his questionable loss to Timothy Bradley.
Without any other quality opponents available to challenge Manny Pacquiao and the rematch with Timothy Bradley not being contracted, to keep busy, Pacquiao agreed to fight Marquez a 4th time which of course unknown to all of us was a big mistake because of the devastating 6th round knockout Pacquiao suffered at the hands of Marquez’ counter-punch right hand, on December 8, 2012.
Now, a year later, actually, shy by 15 days, Manny Pacquiao will fight Bam Bam Rios. Is this fight too risky for 35 year old Pacquiao? Let’s see what Rios brings to the “table”.
Brandon Lee Rios, 27 years of age was born in Lubbock, Texas, and was a top ranked amateur fighter with an outstanding record of 230-35, and in 2004 became the U.S. National Amateur Featherweight Champion, and was also an alternate on the United States Olympic Boxing Team at 125 pounds.
Having been trained by his father all of his amateur career, Rios then met his current trainer Robert Garcia in the Mississippi Olympic trials, and accepted his offer to be trained by him, although he did admit that it was difficult to get used to another voice giving instructions. “I am glad we met because Robert Garcia is an excellent trainer who has helped me become a world champ, but understand this, my Pop is still here in my corner working with Robert”, stated Rios. Since this mega fight was signed, Bam Bam Rios has declared repeatedly that he was going to knockout Pacquiao and retire him to his political life. “I am too strong for Manny, and younger”, Rios declared. You wonder if he-Rios- really believes in what he says or this is just “hype” for the press.
Bam Bam Rios, 33-1-1, 23 knockouts, is a rugged hard punching come at you type of fighter who has a high k.o. percentage rating, who in only 35 fights has “steamed-rolled” through all of his opponents, but after winning the W.B.A. Lightweight title from Miguel Acosta in February 26, 2011, and he then lost it on the scales after only 1 defense.
Rios then went on to win the W.B.O. Latino Light welterweight title from Mike Alvarado, and lost it to Alvarado in a re-match. So what can we expect from Rios when he fights Pacquiao November 23rd , a phone booth duel between 2 middle of the ring fighters of today or an “excuse me”, gentle boxing match? I believe a war.
Manny Pacquiao I believe has a lot to prove since his knockout loss to Marquez, and Rios has to “back-up” his predictions of k.o.-ing, the PacMan.
My question that perhaps is also on many minds is, has Pacquiao, really recovered from that knockout, is, he really a “shadow” of his former self? We must understand as I am very sure the medical professionals should know that knockouts on the devastating level that Manny suffered is a total “dis-connect” of one’s nervous system. You are completely unconscious and hopeless as you are about to hit the canvas risking further injury. So can Pacquiao survive Rios’ hard punches? He claims that he “thrives” on the adrenalin rush of fighting in the ring; “better than sex”, he states.
Will Manny prevail since he not only has more fights than Rios, 61 to 35, but, actually has more knockouts, 38, than Rios has fights, 35?
Remember also that Manny Pacquiao has had more combat ring wars with better quality fighters, world champs also, than Rios. “I am going to win, no matter what,” stated a confident Pacquiao, and he further added, “this fight is new for Rios, I have been here before, and I am used to it.”
In this last week of preparations by both camps having to “share” the same gym in Macao, but on a separate time schedule, tempers flared when both parties met in the gym at the same time.
Freddy Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer accused Bam Bam’s trainer Garcia of encroaching on his training time and “profanely” ordered him out of the gym. A shoving match ensued, but cooler heads prevailed as the Garcia team with Rios left, stating that Roach and Pacquiao were “scared” knowing that the end had come for them.
Roach countered with the remark that Garcia, Rios and their team were nothing but amateurs in a professional level that was too much for them. “They’ll find out Saturday the mistake they made accepting to fight Manny”, declared a livid Freddy Roach.
Perhaps this animosity between the 2 camps started many years ago when Garcia was training Antonio Margarito for his fight with Manny Pacquiao. Allegedly Garcia, Rios, and Margarito mocked Roach’s serious illness of Parkinson’s Disease, and filmed it for all to see. Despite apologies, it seems Roach has been bitter ever since.
No matter how “shop-worn” Pacquiao may be or how young and strong and perhaps inexperienced Rios may be, this is a fight in my opinion that will go down to the wire, and into the Judges hands.
I just hope that they-the Judges-are professionally fair, and the real winner gets the vote not the “fan favorite”.