MANILA, Philippines – Former lightweight champion Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios is confident he can defeat either Filipino fight king Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao or Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez via knockout.
Rios, who moved to light welterweight earlier this year, is coming off a spectacular seventh-round technical knockout victory over Mike Alvarado in a Fight of the Year contender.
A few days before the fight, his promoter, Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum, revealed that the winner of the Rios-Alvarado fight may get a shot against Pacquiao if he beats Marquez in their fourth encounter this December 8.
Following Rios' impressive victory, Arum is ready to keep his word, according to LA Times reporter Lance Pugmire.
"Bob Arum said short of (Floyd) Mayweather, Brandon Rios now front of line to fight Pacquiao should he beat Marquez December 8," Pugmire tweeted.
Rios is already looking forward to the possibility of a fight with either Pacquiao or Marquez.
"You see what happened to Mike Alvarado? I think I could do the same thing to them, too," Rios said in a RingTV interview. "Mike Alvarado, I think he hits harder than them and he's tougher than them."
While it's not a certainty that Pacquiao will beat Marquez when they fight on December 8, Rios believes he knows the key to beating the "Pacman."
"Pacquiao's an in-and-out guy," Rios said. "But you know what? Like I always do, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. taught me very well: break the body down and the head will fall down."
Rios sent Alvarado into the ropes with a staggering right hand in the seventh round, before following up with a flurry that compelled the referee to stop the fight.
But before the TKO, neither man could get the upper hand. They went toe-to-toe for the first two rounds, exchanging hard punches along the way. Alvarado started boxing in the third round, using his jab to keep Rios at a distance.
Rios kept pressing forward, however, and by the fifth round it had turned into a war anew. After Alvarado had Rios in trouble early in the round, Rios suddenly came alive in the final minute with a flurry of hard shots that stunned his opponent.
Many boxing analysts have called the war the top candidate for Fight of the Year.