The moment Brandon Rios lands a solid power shot on Manny Pacquiao, we will learn a lot about Pac-Man's mental state. It isn't easy recovering from a massive KO-loss like the one Pacquiao suffered at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez in December.
Long after a fighter has recovered from the physical damage, the mental effects can linger. The scary thing is that the boxing world—or even Pacquiao himself—may not know the full effects until he's in the ring and hit again.
From a pure talent standpoint, Pacquiao could make this an easy fight, but he won't do that. Pacquiao is quicker, a superior boxer and a more accurate puncher. However, he'd need to box more than slug to show those advantages.
Because he's wired to brawl and incensed by taking a shot, he'll allow Rios to stand in with him longer than he should. If Rios lands a shot, Pacquiao will slam his gloves together and attack viciously.
More than likely, defense will be the furthest thing from his mind. This trait is part of what makes him great, but it is also what makes him beatable. The "great" part is exhibited in this video clip from HBO Sports on YouTube.
Will Pacquiao win?
Provided he doesn't run into another perfect right hand—or isn't damaged goods because of the loss to Marquez—the answer is yes. Despite the commercial appeal, Rios is not an elite fighter.
He is the closest thing to Arturo Gatti in the sport today. He has great heart and a major punch, but he's just not physically gifted with speed and his technical boxing skills aren't elite.
He fights in wars, so his bouts are must-see TV for boxing fans. But if he's in the ring with an elite talent like Pacquiao, he will be outclassed. Still, Rios' pressure and power, combined with Pacquiao's penchant for careless defense and the unknown effects from his last loss, make the fight intriguing.
The quicker Pacquiao can dispose of Rios, the better. He's already been in his fair share of wars; Rios can punch and it isn't advisable to trade with him.
Pacquiao has had several major fights in his career, but this bout will tell us how much career he has left.
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