Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios: Takeaways from Epic PPV Fight in Macau

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor INovember 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

Manny Pacquiao returned to winning ways on Saturday night with a unanimous points victory over Brandon Rios at the Venetian Casino in Macau.

The Filipino fighter had come up short on his last two outings, losing to both Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, earning a 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110 scoreline on the judges' cards.

The match was never really a contest, with Rios taking a battering from the early rounds but showing great durability to see out the entire 12 rounds. But, what can we learn from the encounter?

1. Manny Pacquiao is not done yet

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

"This is not about my comeback. My victory is a symbol of my people's comeback from a natural disaster and a natural tragedy," said the great man post-fight, per Eurosport's Liam Happe, playing down his return to the ring.

After two consecutive losses, including the brutal knockout at the hands of Marquez, there had been many who considered Pacquiao's days as a fighter numbered. Against Rios, though, he showed his immense class as a fighter.

On one judge's scorecard, he won every round of the clash, while the other two gave just one or two rounds the way of the American in the Cotai Arena. Pacquiao, while comfortable, gave a masterful display of boxing control.

He may not be the dominant figure he once was, with defeats having stripped him of his aura, but he remains a wonderful boxer.

2. Boxing needs Pacquiao vs. Mayweather

It is the fight that the world has wanted to see for many years—Pacquiao taking on Floyd Mayweather to finally decide which of the pair is the greatest boxer of recent years.

Pacquiao's trainer, Freddy Roach, said on the subject pre-fight, per Eurosport:

Mayweather is I think slipping a little bit, with his age and so forth. He can't move like he used to. He doesn't use his legs like he used to. He doesn't have the movement. He's not as fluid. He stays on the ropes a lot more. He exchanges a lot more. I think that would benefit Manny Pacquiao in a fight.

Obviously, Mayweather is very good at what he does. I'm not saying that would be an easy fight. We'd have to come up with a great game plan.

However, it is not Mayweather who has had the recent history of defeat.

They may now have rivals for the crown of best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, but it is a fight that simply must happen before the pair retire for good.

The hype and excitement around such a contest would be great for the sport, and both fighters would love the opportunity to prove themselves against a fellow great of their generation.

3. Rios earns respect despite second straight defeat

Two fascinating contests with fellow American Mike Alvarado in the space of a few months propelled Rios in line for this encounter and, while he was comprehensively outboxed, he leaves with an increased reputation.

Per Happe, Pacquiao remarked post-fight: "Rios is one of the toughest opponents I have fought in my career, though, and I was surprised he was still standing after 12 rounds." Indeed, the audience were also.

MACAU - NOVEMBER 24:  Manny Pacquiao (L) of the Philippines hugs Brandon Rios of the U.S. after 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

The Texan took a battering at times and, from the eighth round onward, was also having to deal with two sizable cuts under his eyes, with blood streaming down his face.

Indeed, it would have been no surprise to see the fight stopped.

Rios, though, took his punishment and even managed to hand out a few, albeit intermittent, flurries of his own.

It was a tough night's work, but Rios will have earned future paydays for his troubles.

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