Battering Brandon Rios for 12 rounds allowed Manny Pacquiao to prove he still has many of the skills that made him one of the best fighters in the world, but he still hasn't done enough to regain his place amongst the top-two fighters in the world.
Rios is one tough guy, but he was so overmatched on Saturday night, he was unable to test Pacquiao in any way. No one should have questioned whether Pacquiao's speed would still remain. He was in remarkable shape, and he'd had almost a year off.
The questions about Pac-Man were related to his durability and defense. While he did obviously demonstrate more head movement than he has in many of his previous fights, the speed disparity was so large that it made evading the punches rather simple.
Pacquiao's poise is, at times, an issue. He has a tendency to go into warrior mode after he gets caught with a good shot. When he does this, he abandons his game plan and becomes more vulnerable to taking hard shots. Rios was unable to land against Manny, and quite honestly, he had too much respect for him from the very beginning of the promotion of the fight.
He never angered Pacquiao before or during the fight.
Rios' only real chance of making this fight a brawl—which was what he needed it to be—was to anger Pacquiao and entice him into prolonged exchanges. Instead, Pacquiao was able to go about his business, and the fight looked like a workout more than a pay-per-view main event.
Pacquiao's next fight more than likely won't come against a fighter he has so overmatched from a speed standpoint. Whether he continues his rivalry with Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez or faces another legitimate welterweight contender, Pacquiao's chin and will should be tested a little more the next time out.
Pac-Man should be happy and pleased with his performance, but he still has a lot of work to do before he rejoins the pound-for-pound best list.
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