The big question. Is this next fight a must win for Manny Pacquiao? The 8 division world champion is coming off of a brutal knockout loss to his arch nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez. Many fighters never fully recover from knockouts of that magnitude, so only time will tell if Manny can. Has he lost his focus? That's another common question that's asked by boxing insiders, and fans alike.
Pacquiao in my opinion, does have to win this fight. If he takes back to back losses, his stock falls dramatically, and his chances of banking mega million dollar fights are probably over with. On the flip side. If Pacquiao wins, and more importantly, if he wins in dramatic fashion, then he's right back into the thick of things. A knockout win over Rios would be optimal.
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As crazy as this sounds, a Pacquiao Vs. Mayweather Jr fight would still be in play IF Manny convincingly defeats Brandon Rios. Floyd is all about making money, and he's running out of big names to fight. Pacquiao with a dominant win over Rios puts his stock right back where it needs to be in order land another big fight. If Pacquiao loses to Rios, you can kiss any fight with Mayweather goodbye.
Does Manny still have that killer instinct that he once had in the ring? My sources that are on the ground in the Philippines send mixed reports on that. I have some tell me that he's focused and training hard, and I have a few that are no so impressed with his training efforts thus far. No fear though, Freddie Roach fresh of his win with Cotto is back in the mix. If anyone can fix things, it's Roach.
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My take on Pacquiao Vs. Rios. I think it depends on Manny's chin. If Pacquiao can take Rios's punch, then I think he'll be fine. Pacquiao is much faster, and speed kills. Rios would have to pull off another JMM, and catch Manny with something as he bounces in. To me, as long as Pacquiao doesn't get caught with something, he should win this fight.
Win, lose, or draw, Pacquiao has been fun to watch. I wish him the best.