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Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios: Victory Proves Pac-Man Still Among Boxing Elite

MACAU - NOVEMBER 24:  Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates winning against Brandon Rios of the U.S. during their 'Clash in Cotai' WBO International Welterweight title fight on November 24, 2013 in Macau.  (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)
Nicky Loh/Getty Images
Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIINovember 24, 2013

Manny Pacquiao dominated Brandon Rios on Saturday in Macau, China, defeating his inexperienced foe by way of unanimous decision to win the WBO International Welterweight title.

The scores from all three judges weren't even close, and the flurry of combinations, agility and power Pacquiao showcased proved that he is still among the elite boxers in the world.

Doubts rightly lingered about Pacquiao when he lost his previous two fights.

Although his dropped split decision against Timothy Bradley was controversial, many would argue, dubious, Pacquiao was knocked out by arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez in his previous appearance in the ring.

Any question as to whether Pacquiao is still among the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet were put to rest in his dizzying display of virtuosity against the outmatched Rios.

It also gave credence of Pacquiao's own words, who has insisted throughout after a strong training camp that he was not finished:

Former prolific fighter Mike Tyson went as far to say that Pacquiao's performance was one of the best in the history of the sport:

From the beginning, it was clear that Pacquiao was confident in his game plan, and he executed it to perfection. Rather than worrying about any vulnerability he might be feeling after the prior KO, Pac-Man went on the attack against the similarly aggressive "Bam Bam."

MACAU - NOVEMBER 24:  Manny Pacquiao (R) of the Philippines punches Brandon Rios of the U.S. during their 'Clash in Cotai' WBO International Welterweight title fight on November 24, 2013 in Macau.  (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)
Nicky Loh/Getty Images

It paid off, as Pacquiao crushed Rios with a devastating left to the face in Round 1. Rios also fell, and though it was ruled a slip, it was a sign of things to come.

There was immense pressure on Pac-Man entering this bout. Trainer Freddie Roach even said that if Pacquiao did not look good and lost, he would talk to his pupil about retirement (h/t Yahoo! via AP).

Rios displayed swagger in the ring and even smiled when Pacquiao delivered continued punishment. That moxie in the face of facial pounding would do him no favors on the scorecards, though, because Pacquiao was clearly the better man in the ring.

In the aftermath of the triumph, HBO Sports posed the question as to who Pacquiao may take on next now that he has flashed this return to form:

One opponent boxing fans and purists are eager to see Pac-Man battle is Floyd Mayweather Jr., who said back in August that Pacquiao had blown his chance to face him, per David Mayo of

Mayweather also pointed out how Pacquiao had lost his past two fights, but that can no longer be an excuse.

Pacquiao flashed his past dominance in improving his record to 55-5-2. Whether or not Mayweather decides to tangle with him, the 34-year-old Filipino has revived his career and put himself in position to finish out his outstanding career on top.

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