Nearly five months after being knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao has decided on his next opponent: former WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios.
The news comes from Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole:
Manny Pacquiao will look to break a two-fight losing streak when he returns to the ring on Nov. 24 (Nov. 23 in the U.S.) at The Venetian in Macau, China, to fight Brandon Rios in a 12-round welterweight bout, Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz exclusively told Yahoo! Sports on Monday.
The bout will be distributed on HBO pay-per-view in the U.S. Significantly, though, Koncz said it is going to be sold online in China in something of a test run for the American equivalent of $5 or $6.
ESPN's Dan Rafael confirmed the news via Twitter:
Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn
Arum confirms Pacquiao-Rios is agreed to. Fight will be on @HBOboxing PPV. Will be normal US primetime but morning in Macau. #boxing2013-5-6 22:18:30
After Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez—the two men responsible for Pac-Man's current two-match losing streak—were scheduled to fight in September, it was widely assumed that Pacquiao's next opponent would be either Rios or Mike Alvarado.
Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) recently fell to Alvarado in March by unanimous decision just five months after beating him via TKO in the seventh round.
Commonly known as "Bam Bam" in the boxing world, Rios has the perfect style to manufacture an entertaining fight with Pacquiao. The 27-year-old American showed in his two matches with Alvarado that he is an aggressive brawler willing to sacrifice defense in order to throw more punches.
Combine that type of willingness to mix it up with Pacquiao’s still elite offensive arsenal, and you have what promises to be a tantalizing battle.
With the fight set to take place at welterweight, Rios, who fought Alvarado at light welterweight, will have to add a little bit of bulk before the anticipated bout.
For those that had hoped there was an outside chance of seeing Pac-Man and Floyd Mayweather—fresh off a one-sided beating of Robert Guerrero—square off once and for all, it was never even an option (via ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne):
Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne
Alas, no Mayweather-Pacquiao fight soon. Not only are promoters refusing to work w/ each other, but they're on competing networks now.2013-5-5 04:59:05
Nevertheless, most fans will just be glad to see Pacquiao back inside the ring after a lengthy hiatus. This will be the longest period of time off in between fights since he became a household name, and there is no doubt the boxing world is anxious to see him back in action.