Pacquiao vs. Rios: Top Storylines Heading into Main Event

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor INovember 23, 2013

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 08:  Manny Pacquiao (L) and  Brandon Rios pose at a press conference previewing their upcoming match at Beverly Hills Hotel on August 8, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Clash in Cotai stands to be one of the most compelling fights of the year. 

Sure, Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios will both step into the ring in Macau coming off losses, and as such, hype surrounding the fight is considerably lacking. But that doesn't mean there isn't intrigue surrounding Nov. 23rd's battle. 

Let's take a look at two (of many) of the biggest storylines—one inside the ring and one out—surrounding the bout. 

PPV Flop?

Manny Pacquiao has fans all over the world—will his popularity save what many think is a lackluster matchup?
Manny Pacquiao has fans all over the world—will his popularity save what many think is a lackluster matchup?Feng Li/Getty Images

One of the most intriguing storylines surrounding this event will happen to take place outside the ring, as the number of PPV buys could hit anywhere on the spectrum. 

It could be a massive success. Pacquiao and Rios are two of the biggest names in all of boxing, with the former boasting one of the most loyal worldwide fanbases in all of sports. Moreover, with each boxer's relentless style (more on that later) likely making for an invigorating fight, it's easy to imagine a scenario where lots of people fork up the money to see the battle. 

However, it's almost just as easy to imagine a flop. 

Pac-Man hasn't won a fight in two years, while Bam Bam is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Mike Alvarado that halted his undefeated streak.

Don't get me wrong. With Pacquiao involved, the numbers will still climb plenty high.

But the interest in this particular matchup has cooled considerably over the last year, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the PPV buys fall below 900,000, which is what Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley reportedly brought in—and was also the lowest for Pac-Man since he fought Joshua Clottey. 

Will It Go The Distance?

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 08:  Manny Pacquiao is knocked down in the third round while taking on Juan Manuel Marquez during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Probably not—and that's a good thing. 

Pacquiao and Rios love to brawl. 

According to Compubox's stats, only two boxers land more punches per round than Rios, who connects on an average of 26, while Pacquiao is right behind him at 24. 

We aren't just talking jab-jab-duck, here, either. Rios, who throws an absurd 76 total punches per round, lands an average of 21 power punches. Pacquiao, again, is right behind at 20. 

These guys aren't afraid to let it loose. 

Moreover, neither boxer should feel the need to change his style. Rios saw how vulnerable Pacquiao's chin can be when he got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez last December. If he wants to win this one, he's going to have to come at Pac-Man with ferocity, looking for a KO. 

Pacquiao, meanwhile, is the heavy favorite, and as long as he doesn't switch up his approach, he will stay that way. There's no reason for him not to come at Rios and look to end the fight early. 

Put it together, and you've got the potential for lots of fireworks.