Whether or not Manny Pacquiao fights Juan Manuel Marquez again, there's speculation that his next opponent could be either Brandon Rios or Robert Guerrero.
Rios would be the right choice for the Filipino great.
First of all, while the 30-year-old Guerrero has built up an impressive resume throughout the years (31-1-1, 18 KO), he's not exactly a name that inspires a lot of excitement like Rios' does. At this stage of Pacquiao's career, he wants an opponent who can generate buzz before the fight.
Secondly, Guerrero's style of boxing is very similar to Timothy Bradley's. While many believe Pacquiao was robbed by the judges when he fought Bradley in June 2012, it has more to do with Guerrero's style than the fact that he may edge Pac-Man. Guerrero's hungry, rugged style tends to take the fire away from opponents and, make no mistake about it, Pacquiao wants to go out with a bang.
There's a lot to like in a fight with Rios, from Pacquiao's standpoint.
Rios is a young, cocky, undefeated fighter (31-0, 23 KO). His style of boxing, and his pre-fight antics, match his persona. He's not only going to hype up the fight, he's going to take the fight to Pacquiao. In this kind of fight, you can only expect a knockout or a technical knockout before it hits the scorecards (after all, who wants to leave it up to the judges these days, anyway?).
Rios has a rematch set with Mike Alvarado on March 30. We all know what happened in October. That is, Rios scored a seventh-round TKO against Alvarado in what many labeled the Fight of the Year.
If Rios defeats Alvarado again in March, it will create even more buzz leading up to a fight with Pacquiao. That would be a dream come true for the Filipino great. Imagine the story lines: young versus old, cocky versus humble, rising star versus time-tested veteran.
When all is said and done, Pacquiao may not even care if he fights Marquez again or not. A fight against Rios could be a great battle.
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