Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao will find the route back to the top is short if he can beat Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios in Macau, China on Nov. 24. If Pacquiao wins—especially by KO or TKO—the Floyd "Money" Mayweather superfight hype will return with a vengeance.
In a sense, it never left completely, but at least then it would have some merit.
The Rios fight will be the first for Pacquiao since he was knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012.
Rios is coming off a loss himself. He was out-pointed by Mike Alvarado in their rematch in March, but he has a big enough name to represent a significant victory for Pac-Man.
Assuming Pacquiao has his mental faculties and focus, Rios should be an opponent that gives him every opportunity to shine.
Though Rios is tough, rugged and has notable punching power; he's also slow and easy to hit. Pacquiao could really put on a show against him.
If Pacquiao is victorious and Mayweather fights and wins in September, which is said to be the time when he will fight again, the two men would be close to the same schedule again.
These occurrences wouldn't remove any of the other impediments that have blocked the fight before: Olympic-style drug testing, purse disagreements, glove size, etc.
But with both future Hall of Famers back on the winning track and active again, a fight would seem more realistic than it does right now.
It is hard for fans to get too excited about this bout with images of Pacquiao unconscious still fresh in their minds.
He has to prove the loss to Marquez was just a speed bump and not a preface to the end of his career. Mayweather has answered his doubters with a dominant win over Robert Guerrero.
If Pac-Man can erase the image of his recent failure and leave a new impression at Rios' expense, he'll be back near the top of the pound-for-pound ratings.
That would mean Money vs. Pac-Man would be the hottest conversation in the sport again.
Follow me, because I love boxing and you do too.