Manny Pacquiao is on a mission to be relevant again in the sport of boxing in the twilight of his career—an effort that would come to an end with a loss to Brandon Rios on Saturday night.
After losing two straight bouts—the first of which stripped him of the WBO welterweight title and the second coming by way of a brutal knockout to rival Juan Manuel Marquez—Pac-Man is looking to get back on track.
Meanwhile, Rios is coming off the first loss of his career as he heads into this showdown for the vacant WBO international welterweight title.
It's been said more than a couple of times that Pacquiao picked Rios to step over on his way back to boxing relevance. The odds support that.
|Pacquiao vs. Rios Odds|
|Bovada, as of 11/21|
As of Thursday, the Filipino is heading into the bout with minus-500 odds, which means a $50 bet would yield a $10 profit, according to Bovada.
Per Bovada, Rios stands a slim chance at giving Pacquiao his third straight defeat. His odds to win stand at plus-350. So, dropping $10 on Rios would yield $35.
Pacquiao has seen odds as high as 8-1 in the recent past, according to OddsShark.com, and he was a heavy favorite against Marquez before getting whacked with a sixth-round knockout blow.
With Pacquiao seeing huge odds again, it's hard to envision a scenario where betting on him would be wise. He's coming off two straight losses, and the odds haven't exactly paid out for him in the past few years.
On the other end, Rios has yet to face a test quite like Pacquiao. His near-undefeated record is impressive, but it mostly came against overmatched opponents who couldn't hang one round with Pac-Man. To add to that, Rios lost his momentum after a unanimous-decision loss to Mike Alvarado just six months after beating the same opponent.
The spread doesn't quite set up for an attractive bet in this bout, no matter how you feel about the fight.
Prediction: Pacquiao Wins by Decision
While it may not be smart to throw money down on a high-risk, low-reward prediction for Pacquiao, it's hard to see him leaving this matchup with a third straight loss.
Before Marquez knocked him out cold in December 2012, many boxing fans believed Pacquiao was the absolute best boxer on the planet. His prior loss was a split-decision affair to Timothy Bradley, which spurred great controversy, as the majority of spectators sided with a close Pacquiao victory.
Count on him to get back on track here. Rios boasts a lot of power but isn't quick enough to handle one of the best blends of power and quickness in the history of the sport. Assuming Pac-Man hasn't lost his step, he should be able to use that advantage to distance himself.
After the sobering, embarrassing loss to rival Marquez, you can bet that he is hungry to prove the rumblings of retirement wrong and show that even at age 34, he can fight with the best of them. He knows that anything short of domination on Saturday night could hamper his chances of fighting against the elites of the elite again.
Rios is one of the toughest boxers out there and won't allow any of Pacquiao's blows to let him hit the canvas, but he'll slowly be chipped away until he's a walking punching bag by the middle of Round 12.