Last Saturday at the Home Depot Center in California, WBA champion Brandon Rios (28-0-1 21KO) put on a sensational show by brawling against Urbano Antillon to a third-round TKO.
After his win, Rios has proven himself to be one of the top lightweight fighters in a division full of talented fighters.
Rios plans to move up to the junior welterweight division in the future after making one or two defenses of his lightweight belt. Bob Arum has already stated that he'd like to have Rios defend his belt, possibly against Katsidis, and then a final match against Juan Manuel Marquez.
This is huge because the junior welterweight division is probably the most deeply talented division out of all the other divisions. Also, not only is Rios moving up, but fellow lightweight fighter Robert Guerrero is moving up to the same division, facing Marcos Maidana in late August.
After Rios's fight against Antillon, Arum said in a post-fight interview is that his ultimate goal is to have Rios face Pacquiao (skip to 12:55) possibly in 2013.
Arum believes that he can match Pacquiao's speed and power in the ring. Also since both men are both promoted by Top Rank, the possibility of the fight happening is even stronger.
You might be thinking, come on, another lightweight opponent? Pacquiao is just picking on smaller guys now!
Hold on, consider these two things.
First, Arum wouldn't doesn't want to make a match between the two men until 2013. He wants Rios to have more experience and put on a little more weight before a potential bout.
Second, it's not like Rios fights at 135 on the night of the fight. Rios has been reported to go as high as 151 on fight nights. During his fight with Anthony Petersen, Rios came into the ring weighing 151 pounds while Petersen came in at only 139.
Given some time, Rios can actually put on some more weight and fight Pacquiao in the future and would be a great matchup compared to his last few fights.
This would be beneficial to both fighters. Pacquiao has been criticized of fighting faded opposition who never stood a chance. Rios could use a huge fight against Pacquiao to further raise his profile and hopefully have a name win under his belt.
Rios is relentless and has shown when he fights that he isn't compared to go toe-to-toe and have a good ole fashioned scrap. This is something that fans have been wanting to see Pacquiao do with an opponent for a long time.
If and when Rios actually moves up to the junior welterweight division, who he faces there will show whether he'll have what it takes to.
Two of the fighters he should look into when he makes it to junior welterweight is Khan (25-1, 17 KO) and Bradley (27-0, 11 KO). Khan is already looking to fight Mayweather in 2012 and Bradley is looking for a Pacquiao fight himself.
A victory over either man would show if Rios is ready to take on the next level of fighters in a higher weight division. If Bradley had faced Pacquiao already, he'd serve as a measuring stick on how the two fighters would stack up.
Now, do I think this fight can happen in the near future? Absolutely I think it can, because anything can happen in a year's time. I wouldn't put it beyond Rios to move up to the welterweight division by then and Pacquiao's list of opponents quality opposition is short.
Whatever the case may be, I look forward to the possibility of a match between the two. Rios is a brawler and people watch Pacquiao because they want to see him brawl with his opponents.