Pacquiao vs. Rios: Pac-Man Loss Would Destroy Hope of Floyd Mayweather Bout

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2013

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 31:  Manny Pacquiao (L) and Brandon Rios (R) pose for a picture at a press conference on July 31, 2013 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Kevin Lee/Getty Images)
Kevin Lee/Getty Images

After two losses in a row, any other professional fighter might feel that now's the right time to take an easier bout in order to regain momentum and get a notch back in the win column.

Not Manny Pacquiao, it seems. In two weeks, he will step into the ring against Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios, who—despite coming off a loss himself—has the potential to make it three in a row for the Filipino legend.

However, attention is transfixed on not necessarily the task at hand, but on what could be if Pacquiao makes it through his upcoming examination.

GENERAL SANTOS, PHILIPPINES - OCTOBER 08:  Manny Pacquiao takes part in a training session on October 8, 2013 in General Santos, Philippines. Pacquiao will fight against Brandon Rios on November 23rd.  (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images)
Jeoffrey Maitem/Getty Images

Earlier this week, Freddie Roach told ESPN that there remained a possibility of putting together a superfight between his boxer and Floyd Mayweather Jr.:

Every big fight that was supposed to happen in boxing happens somewhere along the way, I just hope this one isn't going to happen too late when they're both washed up and not the same. Then they're just doing it for the money, anyway.

I still have hope. Mayweather's in the same position [Pacquiao] is. You've only got eight fighters in the world that can sell on pay-per-view and make money. That's why I give it a shot.

As is discussed in the article, purse disagreements and blood testing have put the kibosh on the fight happening in the past, but we're now reaching a make-or-break point on the possibility of the matchup.

As far as current form goes, Pacquiao is living on his legacy. Timothy Bradley's decision win over "Pac-Man" came as a surprise to many, but the KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez confirmed fears that the 34-year-old's best years are well and truly behind him.

At 27 years old, Rios boasts a 31-1-1 record and will rake in the biggest payday of his career when he goes up against Pacquiao in Macau, China later this month.

Having said that, Bam Bam is by no means just there to make an appearance. After winning 23 fights by KO, he will seek to prove his worth against one of the sport's long-term staples.

That one loss came in a rematch against Mike Alvarado, who had a far greater chance than Pacquiao to get acquainted with Rios' approach. Pacquiao won't have the benefit of that advantage.

In fact, according to ESPN Boxing, Rios said that he'll retire Pacquiao with a victory later this month:

While spectators may be intrigued by a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather meeting regardless of form, the event just wouldn't have the same lustre if Pac-Man came into it with anything less than a strong win behind him. Mayweather already has the ability to beat his fellow boxing veteran, so fans would only want to see a fight where they believe Pacquiao has a chance of upsetting "Money."

With the WBO international welterweight title on the line, Pacquiao has a great deal to prove heading into November's meeting, but he can almost rule out the possibility of HBO and Showtime coming to an agreement on this superfight unless he can make a statement of intent against Rios on November 23.