On the surface, Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios is the epitome of underwhelming. But when both men step inside the ropes, no one will care.
It's easy to see the reason for the disinterest.
Pacman hasn't won a fight since November of 2011. While his defeat to Timothy Bradley was one that really plays loosely with the actual definition of "defeat," there was absolutely nothing controversial about his bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, which ended with Pacquiao face down on the canvas.
On the other side of the things, Bam Bam was more Pebbles (I'm sorry.) the last time he entered the ring.
After scoring a TKO of Mike Alvarado to cap an impressive comeback in October of 2012, there was no late magic for Rios in the rematch, as he was picked apart in the unanimous-decision loss in March.
A year-and-a-half ago, this could have been touted as arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world against a tantalizing, up-and-coming undefeated youngster. Now, it's two guys who looked really uninspiring the last time out coming off losses.
Granted, Pacquiao is still undeniably one of the most popular athletes in the world, but this one could easily draw the least amount of PPV buys since his fight with Joshua Clottey more than three years ago.
But on Nov. 23 at approximately 11 p.m. ET, no one is going to remember any of that.
The hammering, go-for-broke style of each fighter is going to make for lots of fireworks. Consider the stats, via Compubox.
Rios lands 25 punches per round, fewer than only two other boxers; Pacquiao is right behind him at 24. Rios lands 21 power punches per round; Pacquiao lands 20. Rios throws 54 power punches per round; Pacquiao sits at 42. Rios throws 74 total punches per round; Pacquiao tosses 69.
All of those numbers, with the exception of Pacquiao's power and total punches thrown per round, rank in the top five of all boxers.
While Pacman hasn't scored a knockout since Miguel Cotto in 2009, he has the power to do so at any given moment if involved in the right fight.
Rios, who has seen 11 of his last 14 bouts end with a knockout, will give him the right fight.
But combine each fighter's propensity to exchange blows with the added pressure for both to score a win, and you have the recipe for a must-see barnburner.
Who cares about the narrative? I'm tuning in to witness the thrilling action.
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