The pound-for-pound boxing king Manny Pacquiao is back. The Pacman showed his rival for the WBO International Welterweight Championship, Brandon Rios, that he still has what it takes to fight top level boxers. Pacquiao was like a champion fighting an amateur as he thrashed Rios with his blinding hand speed, combinations, and ring management during their 12-round bout in The Venetian Hotel in Macau Sunday noon local time.
After losing to Timothy Bradley due to juding error and suffering a seemingly career-ending knockout from Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao stepped onto the ring determined to show everyone that he can still fight. The 34-year old boxer from the Philippines dedicated his win to the thousands of victims of super typhoon Haiyan in his country. His fight was broadcasted in the affected southern islands using generators and projectors in the hope to boost the morale of the survivors.
"This is not about my comeback. My victory is a symbol of my people's comeback from a natural disaster and a national tragedy. My journey will continue. I said we will rise again, and that's what happened," Pacquiao said at a post-fight interview.
"Anybody who wants to fight with me, I can fight. I am willing to fight Floyd (Mayweather), but it's up to him, if he is willing also," added the Pacman, who ups his record to 55-5-2 with 38 wins coming by knockout.
People from the media also asked Pacquiao why he was not able to knock out Rios who appeared to have covered up most of the round and not throwing punches as he used to. The eight-division boxing champ replied with the usual smile and said that Rios was one of the toughest opponents he faced during his career and that he also played it safe, remembering the punch of Marquez that sent him sprawling on the floor, unconscious, for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Rios was almost teary eyed during a post-fight interview, as he recalled his five-month training to prepare for his biggest opportunity of his boxing career.
"It is what it is.... He's quick. I fought one of the greatest boxers in the world. He's very fast, very awkward. His speed got me. I had fast sparring partners; he was faster than them," Rios said in an interview.
While Pacquiao could have sent Rios to dreamland with his powerful left a few years ago, the younger boxer's two swollen eyes and a cut under one clearly showed that he suffered a bad beating despite the mocking grins he showed his older opponent after every strong punch that landed on his face.
Pacquiao dominated the entire fight with judges scoring it unanimously at 120-108, 118-110, and 119-109. The compubox punch statistics showed Pacquiao landing 281 punches of 790 thrown while Rios was pegged at 138 hits and 502 thrown.
The next fight of Manny Pacquiao is temporarily set for April 12 and most likely will take place in the United States.