Before Manny Pacquiao makes his highly anticipated return to the ring, a few other fights will take place in Macau, China on Saturday night.
While no marquee matchups prelude the main event, some interesting fights could unfold before the grand attraction between Pacquiao and Brandon Rios arrives. A few relative newcomers will lace up, while some more established competitors will look to preserve their unblemished records.
Here's a look at the full fight card for Saturday's pay-per-view.
|Pacquiao vs. Rios Fight Card|
|Felix Verdejo (8-0, 6 KO) vs. Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (debut)||Super featherweight|
|Zou Shiming (2-0) vs. Juan Tozcano (4-0, 1 KO)||Flyweight|
|Andy Ruiz Jr. (20-0, 14 KO) vs. Tor Hammer (21-2, 14 KO)||Heavyweight||WBO intercontinental heavyweight title|
|Evgeny Gradovich (17-0, 8 KO) vs. Billy Dib (36-2, 21 KO||Featherweight||IBF featherweight title|
|Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 39 KO) vs. Brandon Rios (31-1, 23 KO)||Welterweight||WBO international welterweight title|
Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan vs. Felix Verdejo
Kicking off the festivities, Felix Verdejo will look to retain his undefeated record (8-0) against the longest name in sports, Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan.
Verdejo, 20, has fought and won eight battles in a one-year timespan. "El Diamante" has notched six victories via TKO, mostly recently knocking out "Stone Cold" Gary Eyer during the second round in October. It serves him right for trying to steal Steve Austin's nickname.
On the other side, Duanaaymukdahan has made a name for himself in the Thailand fighting scene. He has won eight of his nine bouts, but only his last victory over the winless Budi Wilson came by way of knockout.
This is Duanaaymukdahan's professional debut, which could set up a quick victory for the aggressive Verdejo.
Zou Shiming vs. Juan Tozcano
Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming will have the home faithful firmly in his corner when he clashes with the undefeated Juan Tozcano.
Neither man has logged much pro experience; Shiming enters at 2-0, while Tozcano stands at 4-0. Which man will finally suffer the disappointment of falling short?
Shiming brings a fast and furious style to the table, but he has not secured a knockdown yet in his brief professional tenure. Neither man has much of a track record to judge, so there's room for improvement and exposure on both sides.
Since Top Rank has carefully picked out Shiming's past opponents, the company probably wouldn't have pitted him against Tozcano if he posed a significant threat.
Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Tor Hamer
After Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan competes, a much-needed rest in syllables comes when Andy Ruiz Jr. faces Tor Hamer.
Ruiz enhanced his record to a perfect 20-0 after knocking out Joe Hanks in July. The 24-year-old is entering this fight with a full head of steam, having won his last six bouts by KO or TKO.
Hamer, whose name comes so close to Thor Hammer, has occasionally displayed the power of an Avenger with 14 knockouts through 23 fights. The 30-year-old stands tall at 21-2, but he suffered a hiccup last September in a loss to Vyacheslav Glazkov.
This fight provides Ruiz with a golden chance to continue his climb up the ladder.
Evgeny Gradovich vs. Billy Dib
Evgeny Gradovich and Billy Dib will square off in a rematch from their March 1 bout, when Gradovich snatched the IBF featherweight title with a win by split decision.
Based on the CompuBox Punchstat Report (via BoxingScene.com), Gradovich was the deserving winner. He landed 292 total punches to Dib's 228, touting 35 percent accuracy to Dib's 30 percent.
While Dib converted more punches in the first and third round, Gradovich controlled the remainder of the bout to seize the highly contested victory. The fight at Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut was so good that they're doing it again in Macau.
This serves as the top precursor to Pacquiao vs. Rios, perhaps even a 1A of sorts for the evening. With the title again on the line, expect another tightly fought contest between Gradovich and Dib.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!