Before anything else, I send my congratulations to Manny Pacquiao for having bounced back from two successive defeats and totally outclassing Brandon Rios in Macau.
While Manny’s first sortie atop the ring in nearly a year showed to the whole world that he still is among the elite, his opposite number was not, and that was a surprising disappointment. After all the words hurled by Rios and his camp, I really thought it would be an epic struggle that may trigger a new saga in both fighters’ careers. Instead, a rematch would be both a box office bust and a waste of a future Hall-of-Famer's time.

I had the unique opportunity to actually cover Rios in the early stages of his career for the now defunct television program “Fists of the Future” on Solar Sports back in 2007 with future international boxing commentator (and good buddy) Mike Ochosa. Rios went up against up-and-coming young Mexican fighter Humberto Tapia. Rios (seeing action in only his thirteenth professional bout) won the eight round contest via a unanimous decision and Ochosa and I billed him as a talented stylist who could make a name for himself in the spot one day.
Little did we know that he would be a Pacquiao statistic a little over six years later.
The next time I watched him box was during the undercard of the Pacquiao-Margarito tiff in 2010 when he registered a fifth round stoppage against Canadian patsy Omri Lowther. Rios raised some eyebrows with his power punches, but still went almost unnoticed. The next time Rios’ name began humming was when he scored a stunning knockout victory over erstwhile undefeated super lightweight Mike Alvarado in the supporting main event of the Nonito Donaire-Toshiaka Nishioka WBO super bantamweight clash last year.


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