Each and every fight that takes place in the boxing ring has ramifications and the same can certainly be said for the bout between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, which is set to take place on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Macau, China.
For the older fighter, Pacquiao, this is very much a crossroads fight that could take his career in either direction, whether it be to tougher opponents or maybe even retirement.
On the flip side, Rios is seven years the junior of his opponent and still has a ton of time left in his career. There's no question Rios has far less riding on this fight than Pacquiao, but he can still benefit from a win nonetheless.
Let's break down what will happen to both fighters should they either win or lose this bout.
Career Ramifications for Pacquiao with Loss
A loss for Pacquiao in this fight will likely spell the end of his career, as was noted by his trainer, Freddie Roach, who may have hinted that not even a win will guarantee Pac-Man will stick around, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com:
Manny Pacquiao's trainer says the Filipino boxer will contemplate retirement if he fails to perform well against Brandon Rios this month.
Freddie Roach said if the Rios fight "does not go well, we will seriously talk about his retirement," but he added Pacquiao was training well for the Nov. 24 bout in Macau.
The fact that this is even a discussion is a depressing reality for Pacquiao fans. After all, one of Pacquiao's two straight losses that are the cause of this retirement talk wasn't even legit and of course that pertains to the bout with Timothy Bradley that resulted in a joke of a decision in favor of Desert Storm.
The other, a knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, was certainly more credible and really was a bigger driving force behind the questions about Pac-Man's viability moving forward.
If this is the last fight Pacquiao takes part in, all is not lost for the boxer. Pacquiao will have plenty of career opportunities outside of the ring and the Filipino congressman even has aspirations to be president of his home country some day.
As far as his legacy is concerned: Pacquiao's will take a slight hit because of the abrupt end to his career that nobody saw coming just thee fights ago.
However, it must be noted that Pac-Man's career is one of the finest in the history of the sport with multiple titles won in multiple weight classes and the laundry list of great fighters he's beaten over the years.
Don't feel too bad for Pac-Man if he hangs up the gloves because obviously there is plenty out there for him to accomplish the rest of his life. It won't be the last you hear of the Filipino superstar.
Career Ramifications for Pacquiao with Win
If he wins and does so rather convincingly, Pacquiao's career will continue and his road to a comeback following two straight losses will be underway. The only thing that will remain for him to do in order to come all the way back is to avenge his two losses at the hands of Bradley and Marquez.
But it seems as though Marquez is more interested in avenging his recent loss to Bradley rather than giving Pacquiao another shot, who owns a 2-1-1 mark against Marquez overall. A fifth fight isn't out of the question but for now it has to be put on ice until something more concrete happens.
Another rematch with Bradley is a second step Pacquiao must take in the near future. His loss to Bradley was controversial to say the least and Pac-Man more than deserves a rematch with Desert Storm, although the same can't be said for Bradley.
After winning a WBO review following their first and only bout, Pacquiao made it clear he wanted to take on Bradley again. And, after beating Marquez, Bradley also made it clear he would love the challenge of fighting Pacquiao for a second time if he beats Rios, per Liam Happe of Yahoo! Sports:
Bradley is now open to a rematch with Pacquiao, assuming the Filipino ends his losing streak in his fight in Macau next month against Brandon Rios.
"Anything is possible," he said. "I'd love that challenge. I'll have to sit down with my management and see what makes sense from here."
Because of the controversial nature of the first decision and the undeserving victory that was notched for Bradley, Pacquiao doesn't necessarily have to beat Marquez in order to get to Bradley, although personally for Pac-Man it looks as though he understandably desires both.
If he's successful in avenging one or both losses, then we can at least start contemplating a possible dream bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.—boxing gods willing—before the two veterans retire.
We're still a long ways off from that, but a guy can dream, can't he?
Career Ramifications for Rios with Loss
There isn't much for Rios to lose in this fight.
Coming off a loss to Mike Alvarado, Rios comes into this bout hungry and ready to rebound. While a second loss in a row and the second of his career overall would no doubt sting, it won't be anything close to a career-ender for Bam Bam.
That's because Rios is in a different stage of his career. At the tender age of 27, Rios has plenty of fights left in him and won't be retiring even if Pacquiao smokes him on Nov. 23. Not to mention, Rios is considered the underdog in this fight and is viewed as a stepping stone on the path to a comeback for Pac-Man.
Stepping stones normally don't have any pressure on them and the same can be said for Rios. If he loses, nobody will doubt his skills much and many will chalk it up to Rios being the unfortunate victim of a legendary fighter who was overdue for a dominant performance.
Unlike Pacquiao, Rios will have time to recover from such a loss and get his career back on track. Heck, this is a win-win situation for Rios should he take Pacquiao to the brink and still lose the bout.
Career Ramifications for Rios with Win
There are so many positives for Rios should he unexpectedly emerge victorious over Pacquiao on Saturday night.
Rios is a good fighter, but he isn't a household name just yet. Despite an impressive mark of 31-1-1, Rios doesn't have the name recognition of other great fighters, but that will all change if he can win.
Bam Bam will have his name etched into history as not only the last fighter Pacquiao battled, but as the man who ended the boxing great's career. He may do nothing else for the rest of his life, but this single fight could elevate Rios himself to legendary status.
A win will also garner some respect on the title and pay-per-view scene. Beating such a top-flight opponent in Pacquiao—regardless of the current state of his career—should earn Rios a title bout and in turn, the potential for a headlining spot in a pay-per-view event down the road if he wins in an exciting fashion.
One also won't be able to deny Rios' stature as one of the finer boxers in the sport today with the potential to be great thanks to his beating Pacquiao.
The possibilities for the 27-year-old are clearly endless with a win. Because of a lack of expectations and in turn a lack of pressure, Rios can afford to take some chances in order to make the unexpected a reality.