Almost a year after his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao will step back into the ring, looking for his first win since late 2011.
Pac-Man’s next fight has been scheduled for Nov. 24 at the CotaiArena at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel in Macau, China, against Brandon Rios. The bout, which will take place on Nov.23 in the United States because of the time difference, will be Pacquiao’s first outside of the U.S. in over seven years.
According to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz, the deal is being finalized between the two boxers. Financial terms of the fight have not been disclosed.
In Macau, Pacquiao will try to make up for back-to-back losses against Marquez and Timothy Bradley. Bradley’s victory was highly controversial, but Pacquiao was knocked out for just the third time ever against Marquez.
It won’t be an easy task for Pacquiao to get back in the win column. With a career record of 31-1-1, Rios’s only loss came to Mike Alvarado in March. The 27-year-old lost a unanimous decision after having knocked out Alvarado in their first fight, five months earlier.
Rios, who’s fought as a light welterweight recently, will move up to welterweight and the 147-pound limit. He’s shown an ability to have success moving up in weight classes. Prior to his seventh-round knockout of Alvarado, Rios was a lightweight champion.
When the betting odds are released for the fight, Pacquiao will certainly be favored, but Rios’s style gives him a chance to deliver a third straight loss to his opponent. Highlighted in his victory against Alvarado was Rios’ ability to withstand powerful punches. He’s more equipped to handle a flurry of Pacquiao’s punches than most boxers.
Rios shows no fear in the ring and will come at Pacquiao with the in-your-face style of boxing that’s gotten him 31 wins. Since he’s not afraid to get hit, Rios won’t be afraid to go right at Pac-Man. Marquez beat Pacquiao with a similar attitude in December.
Pacquiao chose to fight Rios after both Marquez and Bradley opted not to give Pac-Man a rematch. Instead, the two men who defeated Pacquiao will face off on Sept. 14.
"Bradley and Marquez preferred to fight each other and they didn't really want to go to Asia,” said Arum. “The only one that benefits from the fight being outside the U.S. is Pacquiao because an American like Bradley still has to pay taxes in the U.S., and for Marquez [he] still has to pay taxes in Mexico, where the rate is about the same as in the U.S. For Pacquiao, it's a big deal because the tax rates in the Philippines are much lower."
When Marquez and Bradley turned down offers of $13 million and $6 million, respectively, Pacquiao turned his attention to Rios and Alvarado. Koncz told ESPN that Pacquiao chose Rios because of the way he fights.
"The two fights with Alvarado were both very close fights and either guy could have won either fight," Koncz said. "We looked at styles and Rios has the better style for Manny. He'll come forward and throw a lot of punches. Whether it goes five rounds or 12 rounds, it is going to be entertaining for the fans, and that is what Manny wants. Rios was Manny's choice after Marquez and [Timothy] Bradley turned it down."
In Floyd Mayweather’s recent defeat of Robert Guerrero, the undefeated boxer used his quickness to elude any big punches and make it through 12 rounds, mostly, unscathed. The fight between Pacquiao and Rios should have a much different feel and could turn into one of the most exciting bouts of 2013.