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Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios: Marquee Bout Is Turning Point for Both Fighters

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http://ringnews24.com/images/pixel.gifManny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios will head into their spotlight bout for the WBO International Welterweight title desperately seeking a bounce-back victory. Only one of them will get it in what amounts to a turning point for both veterans.

As recently as 18 months ago, a fight between Pacquiao and Rios would have been one of the biggest boxing could have offered. Since then, the previously dominant duo have combined to lose three times and need to reestablish themselves with a big win.

Pacquiao dropped a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley last June. More worrisome, however, was a knockout loss suffered at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, who Pac-Man was unbeaten against in three prior bouts (2-0-1).

Rios finds himself in a similar situation following a loss to Mike Alvarado. The Texas native entered the fight with an undefeated record and had knocked out his fellow American five months earlier, but came up on the wrong side of an unanimous decision.


A key source of motivation heading into their encounter will be knowing the loser is going to face endless questions about their ability to perform at an elite level.


Losing streaks, especially ones that extended three or more matches, as would be the case for Pacquiao, are not good in a sport that relies on hype. It's hard to sell a fight without a win in over two years, even for somebody with name recognition like Pac-Man.

The fight itself is going to rely heavily on the pace. Rios is coming off a couple quick, hard-hitting duels with Alvarado in which both fighters were able to get in a lot of big shots and he handled it very well despite splitting the bouts.

On the flip side, the last time fans saw Pacquiao in the ring nearly a year ago, he tried to up the tempo against Marquez while seeking the knockout and it came back to haunt him. His rival caught him with a perfect punch late in the sixth round to earn a KO of his own instead.


So expect the Filipino superstar to slow things down early and make it more of a technical battle. If he gets into a back-and-forth brawl, which would be a more exciting option for the fans, Rios' chances of winning increase substantially.

Above all else, though, one thing observers should see from both boxers is desperation. The match might not be generating as much attention as it would have before the pair started racking up losses, but it's just as important when keeping an eye on the future.

Pacquiao wants to show he's still one of the best in the world and Rios needs to triumph over a big-name opponent. A loss and further doubts will begin to get raised.

It will be interesting to see which fighter rises to the occasion on Nov. 23.



Read more Boxing news on BleacherReport.com




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