Pacquiao won but is Pacman back?

photo: manny pacquiao brandon riosBy Gerardo Granados: It was great to see Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO’s) back in the ring last night in beating Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-2-1, 23 KO’s) by a 12 round unanimous decision in Macao, China. His performance was really good but I won’t let myself to be influenced by his loyal fans and fellow writers who believe he is already ready to face Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Manny did clearly win his fight against Brandon Rios, and I had it 120-108. But let us not forget that the “Bam Bam” Rios’ boxing style was tailor-made for Pacquiao, and still was not able to knock him out. It was not a surprise to see that Manny still has power, mobility and speed; what did surprise me is that Brandon Rios was able to land a couple of good shots on him.

Brandon did what he was supposed to do; he was brave and kept pressure for the full round but never adjusted to try to prepare his big right or so and became too predictable for Manny. Meanwhile, Pacquiao used his superior mobility and speed to out-punch and control the tempo of the fight at will, showing no ring rust and great stamina.

I´ll wait until Manny Pacquiao defeats a top welterweight contender to be sure if the Pacman of old is back. When was the last time that he has engaged a top ten welterweight? Was it Joshua Clottey or Shane Mosley? Don’t get me wrong; I admire the Congressman as a man and as a fighter, but I´m simply trying to be objective and not get too ahead on evaluating his chances against the number one pound for pound boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., who clearly is in a different level than Brandon Rios. Let’s not forget that Rios lost his fight versus Mike Alvarado before getting the chance to fight Manny.

It would be too soon for Pacquiao to engage Mayweather Jr. next April. Pacquiao would be better to take one step at a time. He still has the right tools to defeat Mayweather Jr., but he needs more time to be ready to engage a boxer with the highest ring IQ of his generation. Maybe take on next an experienced lion as Zab Judah for instance. To me, Manny needs at least one more fight against a good counter puncher with good defense boxer before taking on Floyd, and Juan Manuel Marquez might not be his only choice.

Was Paquiao´s victory last Saturday enough reason to believe that the Pacman that defeated Ricky Hatton and Miguel Angel Cotto is back or should we the fight fans give the right dimension to it? A friend of mine believes the Pacman is back. Do the readers believe it too?


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