Brandon Rios gets up after falling during his WBO International welterweight boxing title fight against Manny Pacquiao at the Venetian hotel in Macau. Photo by Tyrone Siu, Reuters
MANILA, Philippines – Hard-hitting boxer Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios talked a good game leading up to his welterweight showdown against Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in Macau.
But on Sunday he ultimately proved to be no match against the Filipino boxing superstar. Pacquiao’s speed advantage was already evident early in their 12-round fight, as Rios was barely able to put the Filipino in trouble.
Pacquiao won via unanimous decision, and a Sports Illustrated analyst said the victory clearly showed that Rios was not at all in the Pacman’s class.
“Few expected Rios to beat Pacquiao,” Sports Illustrated reporter Chris Mannix wrote after the fight. “But Rios’ unwillingness to go for broke, to chase a knockout when it was clear he was way down late in the fight was disappointing.”
Rios was known for his all-action, come-forward style of fighting, but his game plan was shot to pieces by Pacquiao, who repeatedly pierced his guard with his left straight, then unloaded multiple-punch combinations before dancing out of the way of danger.
“Rios and his team talked tough before the fight, but they did little to back it up,” said Mannix. “He never adjusted to Pacquiao’s speed, and despite his insistence that he wasn’t bothered by Pacquiao’s power, refused to stand and trade shots with him.”
“For a $4-million payday, Rios left little doubt that he is not in Pacquiao’s class, and probably never will be,” he added.
Rios said after the fight that he was beaten “by one of the best fighters in the world,” but insisted that it was Pacquiao’s speed and awkward angles – and not his punching power – that gave him trouble.
“He’s very fast. He uses a lot of different angles. He’s difficult to box against,” Rios said.
In the press conference, Rios added: “He never hurt me. What got me was just the speed and the awkwardness.”
Rios also said he plans to make a successful comeback, although it is likely that he may have to take a brief break from boxing after dropping a second consecutive fight and sustaining tremendous punishment for the third straight match.