Manny Pacquiao is in a place he has never been before, since he turned professional in 1995. He is coming off back to back losses, having dropped a mega-controversial decision to Tim Bradley last June, and then a KO6 loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December.
Pacman (seen in above Chris Farina-Top Rank photo), who turns 35 in December, seeks to right the ship with a Nov. 23 scrap in Macau against rugged rumbler Brandon Rios, the Texas-born California resident who is himself coming off a loss.
Yahoo's Kevin Iole first reported the news of the Pacquiao-Rios faceoff.
Rios, age 27, lost a UD12 to Mike Alvarado in a terrific faceoff March 30; he will try to keep himself from making it two in a row at the Venetian Resort, in the "administrative region" of China, which is a gambling mecca.
Macau is 12 hours ahead of people who adhere to an Eastern Time Zone, so the bout, to be promoted by Top Rank and distributed on HBO pay-per-view, will unfold on a Sunday morning, so US watchers can feel at home watching it at night.
Promoter Bob Arum has been actively dissing what he feels are the confiscatory tax policies of the federal government in the US, and some states as well; Arum has said for months he'd like to place the next Pacman bout in a zone where the revenue wouldn't be subject to the in-his-eyes ultra-sticky fingers of the taxman. Macau would seem to fit the bill. Top Rank got a taste of the region and did a dry run on April 6, when they staged the pro debut of Chinese Olympian Zou Shiming.
I was certain that we'd see another Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight in the fall, and made no secret of my belief that Marquez' protestations that he wasn't keen on another Pacquiao tussle were mere negotiating rhetoric. But the Mexican boxer told the LA Times' Lance Pugmire that he's done fighting the Filipino, that he wants his Dec. 8, 2012 victory to remain the last image in their rivalry. So, instead of making a career best payday for a fifth fight against pacman, he will fight Pacquiao "conqueror" Timothy Bradley in September.
Readers, we want to hear from you. Do you like the Pacquiao-Rios scrap? Is Rios, a come forward banger who tends to neglect defense, tailor made for Manny, who didn't deal well with Marquez' counterpunching in his last bout? Could Rios tweak his game, tighten up the D, and propel himself with volume and grit to a win which could spell the end of Pacman's career? Weigh in!
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV