It is safe to go ahead and rule out retirement as the next step for Manny Pacquiao.
On Sunday morning in Macau, China, Pac-Man (31-2-1, 23 KO) was absolutely dominant in earning a unanimous-decision victory over Brandon Rios (31-2-1, 23 KO).
As lopsided as the scores are, I'm not sure they paint an accurate picture of how one-sided this fight was. CompuBox adds a little clarity with these eye catching numbers:
From the outset, it was fairly clear that Pacquiao's speed was going to be too much for the straight-forward attack of the bigger Rios.
Pac-Man needed this win to maintain his billing as boxing's second-biggest draw. To some extent, apparently he needed this performance just to have a boxing career at all.
Pacquiao was entering this fight off of back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. The Filipino legend's trainer, Freddie Roach, came out and admitted that a poor performance from Pacquiao would lead to a serious discussion about retirement.
So, with Pacquiao laying to rest that nonsensical retirement talk, it is time to start looking ahead at his boxing career.
This was an entertaining fight, and one in which Pacquiao's epic combinations looked fantastic. In other words, he went a long way toward rebuilding the buzz around his brand that the previous two losses had cost him.
Apparently, that cost him around $7-8 million.
Abac Cordero and Dino Maragay of the Philippine Star reported that Pacquiao's guaranteed money from his last two fights averaged out to $25.5 million for each. Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole issued a pre-fight report stating Pacquiao earned $18 million guaranteed for fighting Rios.
For his next fight, I would expect Pacquiao to have a rematch with either of the two men who had sent him to consecutive defeats (Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez). In that event, I would also expect Pacquiao's payday to be similar to that $25.5 million average.
Of course, there is the possibility of Pacquiao finally getting in the ring with Floyd Mayweather. In that event, Pacquiao would undoubtedly be in line for the biggest payday of his career. However, I am skeptical that that megafight will ever happen as long as Bob Arum would stand to make a financial gain off the fight.
As for Rios, his status remains relatively unchanged. He was expected to lose to Pacquiao, and while he was handled fairly easily, he made for an entertaining fight.
Still, it is Rios who is now the loser of two straight fights—the first two losses of his professional career. He needs to get back on the winning track, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him take a lesser opponent to help him reverse the trend of his recent results.
Of course, a future rematch with Mike Alvarado is all but inevitable.
They have already met twice. Rios won the first with a stoppage and Alvarado took the second via decision. Both fights were highly entertaining and full of action, and a third would be a solid draw.
The last time Rios took on Alvarado, he made $1.25 million. I wouldn't be surprised, assuming he doesn't lose again in the interim, if his take from a third fight between the two earned him a little more.
In all, it was a solid night of boxing with a fair result, and both Pacquiao and Rios are better off after the fight. That's the rare Michael Scott win-win-win.