If anyone was expecting the career of Manny Pacquiao to be over after his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez last year then they better take a rain check. Manny Pacquiao looked every bit of his old self Saturday night at the Venetian Resort in Casino in Macau, China as he battered a tough Brandon Rios over the course of 12 rounds. The unanimous decision win for Pacquiao is his first victory (on paper) since defeating Juan Manuel Marquez back in November of 2011. Scores were 120-108, 119-109, and 118-110.
"I said we will rise again. I prove it." Pacquiao said at the post fight conference. "This was one of the toughest fights I have ever had."
It didn't appear that way from watching it. Pacquaio used his amazing speed to throw thunderous combinations at a flustered Rios who was never able to get to Pacquiao. The lateral movement and quick combinations of an elusive Pacquiao kept Rios frustrated the entire night. He looked every bit of his old self.
"I didn't really feel his power. The speed was the problem." Said Rios.
Rios didn't get the chance to land any haymaker's like Marquez did but he did land some clean shots throughout the fight. Pacquiao took them well although he was more cautious than usual especially towards the later rounds when he had Rios beaten both on the cards and mentally. Pacquiao was always known as a fighter to go for the kill however his KO loss back in December may have halted him from doing anything drastic.
"I don't want to get careless, so I back off a little." Pacquaio responded when asked why he didn't try to finish him.
The expectation by many before the fight was that Rios posed only a puncher's chance type threat. He wasn't expected to go in there and beat Manny round by round. Rios was perhaps chosen for that reason. If Manny Pacquiao was the type of fighter that was done after last year's brutal KO loss then Rios was the type of opponent that would expose that. If Pacquiao wasn't done then Rios was the type of opponent that he could easily defeat. Pacquiao showed that he was still a game fighter and that 2014 was a world of possibilities to him that may even include the long awaited mega showdown against Floyd Mayweather.
"I'm willing to fight Floyd Mayweather. It's up to him." Pacquiao stated.
Promoter Bob Arum, who in the past was questioned about his seriousness about making a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, was in accord with his fighter.
"If all sides cut out the crap, it can be done." Arum said. Arum also said that he plans of having Pacquiao return to the ring April 12th in the United States against a TBA opponent. However a May 3rd bout against Mayweather wouldn't totally be out of the question if the two sides could learn to negotiate it better than the last three tries.