This weekend (Nov. 23, 2013), the eyes of the boxing world will be focused on Macao, China and the highly anticipated match between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios. Though this does not feel like a Pacquiao fight when he was at his peak 2-3 years ago, it is still a huge fight and a lot hangs in the balance for Pacquiao and his career. Pacquiao sits as a (-470) favorite, with the comeback on Rios at (+375). The common thinking is that Pacquiao’s time of dominance is over, as he has taken two losses in a row. Pacquiao and his team accepted Rios as an opponent because of his style, which is tailor-made for Pacquiao’s style, so despite Pac’s drop off, he has booked this as a bounce-back fight and will be looking to be heard from again. For Pacquiao, a win means the restart of talks for a fight with Floyd Mayweather, which would still be the biggest payday available for both men. The rhetoric from the Pacquiao camp is typical, saying that he is focused and in the best shape he has been in for a long time. Trainer Freddie Roach is predicting a KO, and the pre-fight heat between the two camps has been ratcheted up now that fight week is here. Roach was involved in an incident that could have escalated into a brawl with the Rios camp, and there has been a long history of vulgarities exchanged between the two camps. The funny thing is this stuff plays into Rios’ hands. Rios is 31-1-1 and he has been fighting at a high level for a long time. His brawling style comes from his street fighter type of mind set, and he prefers a brawl and a firefight. He prefers when a fight gets emotional. This is the biggest fight if his life by a long margin, and his biggest payday, so in Rios you can almost count on getting his A-plus game. Pacquiao will remain unemotional and he will try to be precise and land his big punch to take out Rios. If Rios is somehow able to stay safe, or somehow he can take Pac’s power, then he has a legitimate shot. The loss he wants to give Pacquiao would almost certainly retire the Filipino star, but the bookmakers think he can’t do it.
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