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Arum wants Rios-Alvarado winner to fight Pacquiao in April

(Photo credit: Chris Farina – Top Rank) By Chris Williams: In a move that’s not all that surprising, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is reportedly interested in putting the winner of this Saturday’s clash between Top Rank stable fighters Mike Alvarado (33-0, 23 KO’s) and Brandon Rios (30-0-1, 22 KO’s) in with his number #1 cash cow fighter Manny Pacquiao next year in April in a Top Rank in house fight.

Arum told the Manila Standard that a fight between Pacquiao and the winner of the Rios-Alvarado fight “Could be unbelievable. The public would go crazy for that fight. Imagine Manny against either of these animals. Manny will have to become an animal himself.”

Like I said, this isn’t unexpected because Arum tends to put a lot of in house fights together with his stable of fighters and he’s pretty much run out of guys to throw in there with Pacquiao after exhausting most of stable. In the last three years, Arum has put the following Top Rank fighters in with Pacquiao: Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley and Tim Bradley. Things have gotten so bad that Pacquiao is fighting 39-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time in December. And this probably won’t be the last time we see Marquez and Pacquiao fighting.

If Brandon Rios emerges as the winner of this Saturday’s fight with Alvarado there’s going to likely be a lot of criticism of Arum if he chooses to match Rios with Pacquiao because a lot of boxing fans aren’t impressed with Rios as a fighter. They also feel that Rios should have lost his last fight against Richard Abril, who made Rios look real bad in out-boxing him in what appeared to be an easy win. Some boxing fans think Abril was ripped off for that fight to keep Rios, with his big money making potential, an unbeaten fighter.

At this point I think either Rios or Alvarado would give Manny problems because he’s starting to lose it now and isn’t fighting hard for the full three minutes of every round. I don’t see either Alvarado or Rios as the best fighters at light welterweight, but they might be good enough to outwork a fading Pacquiao, who has lost a few steps from age in the last year.

I don’t know if a Pacquiao-Rios or Pacquiao-Alvarado would be a big fight, however. Neither of those guys are big stars, and even if their fight this Saturday turns out to be an exciting affair, I don’t see them emerging as well known fighters with casual boxing fans. It takes a long time to get known to casual fans because they don’t follow every fight of the sport. At the end of the day, I see a Pacquiao vs. Alvarado or Pacquiao vs. Rios as doing about the same PPV numbers as Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley did. We probably will never find out what kind of numbers will be, because I doubt HBO will release them. We never found out from HBO what the Pacquiao-Bradley final PPV numbers were for some reason. However, Arum, Top Rank and Pacquiao will do really well because it’s an in house fight for the company and Rios and/or Alvarado won’t be able to command big pay for the fight because they’re not huge stars. That means more money for Pacquiao and company.

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