Manny Pacquiao Proves His Time as Elite Fighter Has Yet to Pass

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent INovember 24, 2013

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

Not so fast, retirement. Manny Pacquiao wants nothing to do with you yet.

On Sunday morning in Macau, China, Pac-Man dismantled Brandon Rios in a victory via unanimous decision:

Loser of two-straight fights, Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach was on record as saying that a bad performance from Pac-Man would lead to serious discussions about retirement. 

I don't think "retirement" will come up much in the discussions between Pacquiao and Roach in the coming days. 

Pacquiao was dominant from the opening bell to the last.

There was not a moment in this fight where it didn't feel like Pacquiao was in control.

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

Rios was a big underdog in this fight, as many expected Pacquiao's speed to be too much for the 27-year-old. It was also a commonly held notion, one held by yours truly, that Rios' straight-ahead, high-volume attack would lead to Pac-Man ending the fight with a stoppage. 

The stoppage never came, but Pacquiao was impressive all the same. 

Rios has a tremendous chin, and that chin took a lot of abuse. As CompuBox highlights, Pacquiao was extremely active in this fight:

Just as notable as Pacquiao's performance was Rios'. He is not a fighter who is going to get out-punched often in a fight. Pacquiao was throwing such a steady diet of quality punches, it was nearly impossible for Rios to find holes.  

The key really was the quality of Pacquiao's combinations. It is his powerful and fast combinations that allowed him to become a legend in the first place, and those combos looked nearly as good against Rios. 

In the end, Rios proved to be a worthy opponent, in that he could take a lot of abuse, but he lacked the speed to truly hang with Pac-Man.

This was the exact kind of statement Pacquiao needed to make as he tries to erase the stain of having suffered two consecutive losses for the first time in his career.

By rebounding with a decisive victory, Pacquiao made it easy for people to forgive and forget his last two losses, which is a far better proposition for Pacquiao than had he lost.

After all, many felt that Pacquiao was the rightful winner of his June 2012 bout with Timothy Bradley. However, a questionable decision handed the win to Bradley.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 09:  Manny Pacquiao salutes the crowd after his fight against Timothy Bradley at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Then, there was the bout with Juan Manuel Márquez that ended with Pacquiao out cold and grabbing a face full of canvas. There was no doubting the rightful winner of that fight. However, there was also no doubting that Pacquiao was in good form before his night ended.

By coming out and authoring a decisive victory, Pac-Man reinforced the positive aspects of his past fights, and in that light, it is tough to argue that Pac-Man is not an elite fighter. 

After watching Pacquiao dismantle Rios, it is clear his combination of speed and power is still lethal.