This past Saturday night (Nov. 24, 2013), from Macau, China, iconic boxer Manny Pacquiao made his return to the ring after a layoff of nearly a year. He was impressive and efficient in winning a Unanimous Decision over a very tough and determined Brandon Rios. Rios was way too slow, evoking memories of Pacquiao’s win over Antonio Margarito, also a bigger, plodding opponent. In that one, Pacquiao broke Margarito’s orbital socket on the way to a unanimous decision. This time, the damage to Rios wasn’t as great, but it was abundant and Pacquiao was never threatened in the fight. So where does this leave Pacquiao for calendar year 2014? Pacquiao is likely to get solid reviews coming of his showing, and his hardcore fans will consider him still among the very best in the world. In this fight with Rios, Pacquiao showed an incredible reserve of energy, boxing with a lot of movement from start to finish, rarely relenting in his constant barrage. Rios’ lack of speed made Pacquiao look elusive. The big time opponents for Pacquiao will be no surprise. There will be potential rematches with Tim Bradley and with Juan Manuel Marquez, as both fighters have a history with Pacquiao and are still big names in the boxing game. Then there will be calls for a match with Floyd Mayweather Jr, a bout five years past it’s prime which will have a price tag padded by five years inflation, but it is still probably the biggest fight out there now. However, Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum struck a lucrative deal in China, avoiding a lot of the taxes Pac pays in the USA. It has been said more than once that Pacquiao’s future matches may all come outside of the USA. Interestingly, if a match with undefeated Indonesian Chris John (48-0-3) could be arranged, it would likely be the biggest match in the history of Asian boxing. John currently competes at Featherweight, so the weight is an issue, but John owns a win over Juan Manuel Marquez and enjoys massive support in his home country, so he brings a following to the table. Whether this match is staged in the Philippines or in Indonesia, you can expect the entire population of both countries to come to a standstill if the fight were to happen. That would be a great way for Paquiao to do something big for the sport yet again. Even a match with Mayweather or the Mexican Marquez, would not have the effect of bringing the population of two countries to an absolute standstill like the John fight would. Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios highlights
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