Pacquiao vs. Rios Fight: Major Takeaways from High-Profile Bout

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 24, 2013

MACAU - NOVEMBER 24:  Manny Pacquiao (R) of the Philippines punches Brandon Rios of the U.S. during their 'Clash in Cotai' WBO International Welterweight title fight on November 24, 2013 in Macau.  (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)
Nicky Loh/Getty Images

Well, that wasn't a surprise.

Manny Pacquiao outclassed Brandon Rios on Sunday morning in Macau, China to get back into the win column following defeats to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Although the bout was one-sided for the duration, plenty of talking points will be discussed ad nauseam for the next few months. With boxing, the focus is always on the next fight.

With that in mind, here are three of the biggest things we learned from Sunday's fight.

 

Manny Pacquiao Isn't Back...Yet

MACAU - NOVEMBER 24:  Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates winning against Brandon Rios of the U.S. during their 'Clash in Cotai' WBO International Welterweight title fight on November 24, 2013 in Macau.  (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)
Nicky Loh/Getty Images

Pacquiao undoubtedly looked good in the ring. His punches were quick and crisp, and he didn't absorb a high volume of blows. In addition, some of his swagger was back in the ring. He wasn't timid. He took the fight to his opponent and never let up.

All of that is a lot to be encouraged about, especially after how many people were talking up retirement angles if Pac-Man lost.

You shouldn't get too ahead of yourself, though, if you're singing Pacquiao's praises.

He was so much better than Rios during the fight that he was never tested. He never had to battle against adversity or recover from a big knockdown. It was smooth sailing as soon as Rios slipped in the first round.

Until Pacquiao is tested against somebody close to his talent level, you can't consider him to be back to an elite level or something close to where he was before the Bradley fight.

It's similar to what many were saying about Floyd Mayweather before he fought Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Robert Guerrero had been merely a prelude to what was to come next.

 

Could We Be Edging Closer to a Superfight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.?

Sep 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather on stage at the  MGM Grand Garden Arena for his weight in for the super welterweight world championship fight against Canelo Alvarez (not pictured). Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

You really didn't think you were going to make it through a Pacquiao article without Mayweather coming up, did you?

In the last five to 10 years, no two boxers have been linked as closely throughout their careers than Mayweather and Pacquiao. It feels like you grew up with your grandpa telling you about that one time the fight almost happened, and then it didn't happen because this promoter said that, drug testing or some other reason.

One thing is for sure: In order to keep any hope of that fight alive, Pacquiao had to win in dominating fashion on Sunday, which is what he did.

Money talks, especially in boxing. It will be hard for either guy to turn down what would be a record payday.

At least with Pac-Man's win, the possibility exists that this megafight can happen before both he and Mayweather take a massive decline in form.

 

Brandon Rios is Nowhere Near the Class of Pacquiao

MACAU - NOVEMBER 24:  Brandon Rios of the U.S. walks into the ring before his bout with Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines  during their 'Clash in Cotai' WBO International Welterweight title fight on November 24, 2013 in Macau.  (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty I
Nicky Loh/Getty Images

Simply put, Rios didn't deserve to be in the same ring as Pacquiao. This was his greatest chance to establish himself as a bona fide star, and he failed miserably.

At no point did "Bam Bam" look like he was going to win. He landed a couple of punches in the third and fourth rounds, mostly on the inside and in clinches. After that, he offered nothing.

Not until the 10th and 11th rounds did he get in much offense again.

It's one thing to throw a lot of punches in an effort to connect something big, only to have none of them fall.

With Rios, he looked content to sit back and prolong the fight. There wasn't any real attempt to go for broke and nail a quick knockout, even when the outcome of the bout was already decided.

If Rios showed the kind of aggression he had in the post-fight interview with Max Kellerman, maybe this fight could have been competitive.