MANILA – After 2 consecutive losses, Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao gets another chance to redeem himself in his upcoming bout against Brandon Rios.
Boxing analyst Larry Merchant said Pacquiao set a high standard in his meteoric rise to stardom.
“Anytime you set a high standard, you will be judged not by winning or losing but by that standard,” Merchant said in an interview with Dog House Boxing’s David Tyler.
“We have a certain image of him that was created and we will see how much of that image can be restored [in the Rios fight].”
Pacquiao captured the imagination of fight fans by dominating bigger opponents like Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto in the late 2000s.
But as he took on various roles in show business and politics, the Filipino superstar also lost his touch.
He could no longer finish his foes as shown in his bouts against Shane Mosley and Timothy Bradley, and even fell into a trap that led to his knockout loss to his long-time nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez.
Merchant said the Rios bout may reveal if Pacquiao still has the fire in him to keep on fighting.
“Right now, Pacquiao is coming off two losses and he will have to restore himself and he does have an opponent in Brandon Rios who will be his truth machine,” he said.
“We will see if Manny Pacquiao wants it bad enough and willing to give it his full time and energy, even though he has another full time job as congressman, the Rios fight will answer some of these questions.”
Merchant said Rios is a dangerous fight for Pacquiao. If the Filipino slips in front of a finisher like Rios, then he’ll be in deep trouble, said Merchant.
“Rios looks like a good opponent for Pacquiao because he keeps coming, however, if Pacquiao is not physically and mentally in top condition, then the dream becomes a nightmare.”