Is Pacquiao vs. Rios a PPV worthy event?
By James Le Blanc: Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios is an intriguing match-up. People want to know if Pacquiao still has gas in his tank or they want to know if Rios is on that level. This appears to be a fan friendly matchup but I don’t understand why it is a PPV event. I can’t for the life of me justify paying so much money towards a perceived “has been”, and a guy that never fought at Welterweight.
We’ve sat back and watched repeated losers fight on a PPV headliner or PPV undercard before. An example would be Shane Mosley, who lost 3 straight PPV appearances against Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and Saul Alvarez. He had one fight in between that time and didn’t even win that one scoring a draw against Sergio Mora. While some fans have nitpicked Floyd Mayweather and the way he chooses his opponents I have been most critical with the opponents Pacquiao has picked over the years.
While Floyd has recently faced unbeaten foes, or foes coming off of spectacular wins, Pacquiao over recent years has been less adamant of fighting winners, maybe in hopes to look as fascinating as possible or maybe just taking what is given. After all he did eventually give undefeated Bradley a shot at his belt. But even my criticism of Pacquiao’s selections will not allow me to say that he isn’t an exciting fighter, that represents himself and the sport well.
But here is a cold hard fact. Pacquiao is coming off an incredible KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez and now headlining a PPV card facing another fighter in Brandon Rios who is also coming off of a loss to Mike Alvarado. When was the last time a boxing viewer paid for 2 boxers headlining a bout, coming off of two losses, and fighting for no belt? Has this ever happened before?
When HBO parted ways with Golden Boy and took sides with Top Rank they didn’t split the boxing talent down the middle, they merely alienated the few competitors Top Rank has from a stable in Golden Boy full with top competitors in the lower weight classes specifically the Welterweight and Jr Welterweight classes.
Therefore the options Top Rank now has for Pacquiao has decreased by a wide margin and after Pacquiao fights Rios he will be looking for rematches with either Marquez or Bradley, two fighters that have said they will not fight Pacquiao for two different reasons. Bradley doesn’t think he needs to fight a rematch with Pacquiao in China and Marquez feels he ended any questions about who is better when he sent Pacquiao to the canvas asleep before he hit the deck.
So when I put on my thinking cap as to why Pacquiao’s next opponent is Brandon Rios I take a look at the landscape of boxing, Top Rank and HBO’s challenges moving forward along with Rios’s style. If you watch Brandon Rios you will see he is a smaller version of Antonio “The shame of Mexico” Margarito.
Do we remember what Pacquiao did to that guy? He battered him for 12 rounds breaking the guys orbital bone. Rios, who has never fought at the welterweight limit, is matched with Pacquiao to make Pacquiao look superb again. This fight is designed to use a semi-name in Rios to give Pacquiao a boost back into stardom and respect from the boxing community so that we can once again start talking about who the best Welterweight is.
I am surprised that boxing writers have not pointed this fact out. Do we really believe a flat footed Rios is going to give Pacquiao any problems at all? So if you acknowledge my assessment of the match up you can move forward with me in wondering why I should pay PPV money to see this fight.
Do I think the fight will be exciting, yes. Do I believe the fight will last long, No. Do I think I should pay for two guys who clearly are not the best in their divisions coming off of losses, No. When you get knocked out in the fashion Pacquiao was knocked out, he should have to work his way back into PPV status in my opinion. But if we admire him so much and think he is still worth paying to see then why should we pay to see him fight a guy who also recently lost?
So as far as I am concerned HBO and Top Rank are really reaching with this bout and have to be extremely careful in promoting it. It’s tough to build up such a fight and convince a consumer to pay for this event. If it was merely an HBO headliner that did not include me paying any additional money then I would have no complaints and watch like the next man. But for me, it looks like I will have to watch this bout on the HBO replay, a week later.
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