As we count down the hours to the start of the HBO pay-per-view between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios, there are plenty of questions still hanging around the minds of boxing fans.
Was Pacquiao broken by the crushing counter shot of Juan Manuel Marquez?
Can Rios hang at 147 pounds?
Does Manny still have the ability to handle the pressure attack of a young guy like Rios?
Those questions will all be answered in the main event of the PPV that starts tonight at 9 p.m. ET.
Here are some more last minute thoughts on the event:
- This undercard is absolute trash. Top Rank has yet to figure out that people are expecting more than one "featured" bout when they plop down $50-60 for a fight card. Will people pay anyway? Yes, but resentment grows and it's not good for long term business. The undercard is worse than you'd expect on a Showtime Championship Boxing undercard. Billy Dibb vs. Evgeny Gradovich? Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Tor Hammer? Zou Shiming vs. Juan Tozcano? Get out of here with that garbage?
- The one thing that is interesting in terms of ambition on the part of Top Rank is Bob Arum finally trying to break into the Chinese market that he's been talking up for years. Using Pacquiao and Shiming ensures it'll be a success this time out but the long-term strategies here will be interesting to follow.
- Pacquiao and Rios will be fighting for the WBO International Title. For the curious, that is a title that did not exist prior to this fight. Sanctioning bodies (like the WBA, WBO, WBC, etc.) generally take three percent of the combined purses in a bout. Pacquiao is guaranteed $18,000,000 while Rios is guaranteed $4,000,000. That means it's $660,000 just to "sanction" the bout for a made up title. So, while both men lost their last fight, it's easy money for the WBO and yet another reason why people resent the alphabet soup title mess in the sport.
- The best news coming into the fight is that the Pacquiao/Rios should deliver good action. Both are action fighters, Rios pressures and throws in endless bunches while Pacquiao bangs with heavy one shot power on his counters and can pressure as well if he gets comfortable.
- Manny's vulnerability has always been a part of his appeal. Unlike Floyd Mayweather, who seems as though he is always at a massive advantage, Manny always seems like he could get beaten, even when he's a comfortable favorite. That plays into why there's the appeal for this fight even though it's one that tilts comfortably in Manny's favor on Manny's paper.
We'll see you tonight with our live results and reactions to the events.