When Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2) squares off against Brandon Rios (31-1-1) on November 23 at the Venetian Macao in Macau, China, the veteran brawler will be fighting for more than just a chance at redemption after two straight losses.
Pacquiao will be fighting to keep the potential superfight with Floyd Mayweather alive as well.
The boxing world was clamoring for the battle of welterweight giants for years before Pac-Man suffered his first loss since 2005 against Timothy Bradley in June of 2012, but it was the devastating knockout defeat at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez that hurt the megafight most.
While it became clear with the knockout loss that Pacquiao would always be viewed as a lesser fighter than Mayweather, there is still a chance Money could be enticed into the possible battle with an enormous payout and the idea of proving he is unquestionably the best.
While Mayweather is still the ultimate goal, Pac-Man can’t look past Rios.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach told Joaquin Henson of The Philippine Star about the difficulties working with Pacquiao these days and how he can get distracted:
It’s always hard to get Manny to give 100 percent to boxing because he spreads himself so thin. He’s got his life in politics, his wife and kids, he now has bible study, he has as many things going on as anyone possibly could. But when he comes to the gym and starts training for the fight, that’s when he gives 100 percent. His work ethic is still great. I haven’t seen any signs of him slipping whatsoever, so I don’t expect any at this point but if there are, we will address it.
As a boxing fan, it’s discouraging to hear that it’s hard for Roach to get 100 percent from Pacquiao at times, especially with the biggest fight of his career quickly approaching.
While Rios shouldn’t prove to be a real threat to the boxing veteran, many said the same about Marquez. Pac-Man must realize that his window of opportunity to make this superfight with Mayweather a reality is closing fast, and his only chance of keeping it open is by beating Rios, preferably in convincing fashion.
Not only should Pacquiao be fighting hard to get the payday associated with a possible Mayweather bout, he would also be getting in the ring to avenge his previous losses and assert his place in history.
Whether this megafight ever comes to fruition or not, Pacquiao must beat Rios in November to even have a chance of it happening in the future.