“The only thing I fear when I battle- is God and my shadow.”
There’s that split second pause and then the pulsating, party inducing swagger of Dr. Dre’s mid 90’s classic beat and anthem, featuring the legendary Tupac Shakur. It is the most provocative “West Coast” song ever made, and you’d be hard pressed to come up with a song more synonymous with the feel of a region than this one.
I imagine Brandon Rios has bounced up and down a few streets in Cali with this jam flooding his speakers, for he is a walking embodiment of what the average guy from the streets of California is all about. Rios is nothing if not authentic, and he doesn’t care to be anything other than himself. He is unabashed in this regard.
The fact that he’s on the heels of the biggest fight of his life with Manny Pacquiao, has not changed him one iota. In fact, he’s still the guy seen in video clips roughly 3 years ago now, derisively mocking Freddie Roach and his affliction with Parkinson’s Disease, something that incensed Pacquiao’s camp then and now. Acts such as the one’s he displayed, usually define the victim, and changes the perception of the injured party. Not that he didn’t earn it, but Pacquiao’s subsequent assault of the Robert Garcia led (Rios’s trainer) Antonio Margarito, earned Roach his last trainer of the year award.
But sympathy dies, and isn’t necessarily replaced by empathy.
When a bad deed makes headlines, the first thing we want to know is whether the perpetrator did it on purpose. If Rios was to play a track for me in his pimped out ride in response to such a question posed, my guess is he would throw on something from Drake featuring Lil Wayne: “HYFR”
[GLUTTONY] [ENVY] [GREED] [SLOTH] [WRATH] [LUST]… [[[[[PRIDE]]]]]
Pride is what compels us to aim higher rather than simply get by- and in this sense is a virtue. This is called authentic pride. Yet it has a darker side, a facet that has earned it a billing as a deadly sin. Once it crosses into the realm of arrogance and egotism, it becomes toxic and harmful. This is called hubristic pride. In Boxing terms, think Floyd Mayweather or Muhammad Ali, who harnessed it with great success, but have suffered personally because of its narcissistic affects. Of the 7 deadly sins, we probably all suffer from at least one of them or have. Most fighters probably became what they are as a result of pride, and Brandon Rios is no different. Both types of pride can give you power and high status. In today’s edition of “The Kill Zone”, I am going to match Brandon Rios and Manny Pacquiao with replicas of themselves in personality in the ring.
Brandon Rios vs Roger Mayweather
I’m not so sure if there isn’t an 8th deadly sin somewhere that Roger Mayweather might suffer from. He’s something else. Whatever it is, I am more than sure that it would be funny. I happen to think the negative quality of “Pride”, “Envy” and “Wrath” guided him in a career that was quite successful. He presented the great Chavez with all 3 in losing efforts. He gave his immensely successful nephew all of his attributes, both in the ring and out, and made him a much more refined version of who he was. I only see an icy “Pride” working for Brandon. The way Rios and Mayweather would talk to each other during the fight itself and during promotions would be truly historic. “Something” dramatic would happen that would probably make ESPN anchors go wild. They might even make “Time” magazine, TMZ, and maybe even a movie.
They would also produce a great fight.
Mayweather would undoubtedly tell Rios that he “don’t know sh*t about Boxing. This M*&%F&*cker aint got no skills!”, and he’d prove it. Exposing Rios as somewhat crude and one-dimensional, “Uncle Roger” would pick Brandon apart on the way to a one-sided points win that would probably send Rios into a soul-searching depression.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Fritzie Zivic
You know you have an outrageously large and out-of-control ego when you can get in front of an American audience of millions and sing, when you can’t carry a tune.
Manny Pacquiao- is a terrible singer (plus we won’t even get into how dreadful an actor he is or how bad “Wapakman” was). But that didn’t stop him from going on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and putting his wretched vocals on display. His pride is of the good-natured and authentic variety, but it can go the other way, and to negative affect as it did last December. We saw Timothy Bradley put his aside and beat Juan Manuel Marquez last week by just deciding to box. Nothing exciting about it, but just box.
Pacquiao would be wise to do this against Zivic- but he wouldn’t.
Fritzie Zivic was an ultra tough fighter of incredible resolve who could walk on nails and not fall if you nailed him. He fought 7 Hall of Famers and 9 World Champions. A version of Zivic roughly the same age as Rios, 27, roughed up Henry Armstrong (L, UD15) and Sugar Ray Robinson (L, UD10) while scaring the hell out of them both. He would do anything imaginable to win, would foul you repeatedly in a variety of ways (even maim you), and be the nicest guy you’ve ever met in your life that night at the bar.
And about 3 years ago, following his win over Margarito, the Pacquiao who faced Shane Mosley would’ve lost to Zivic and joined him anywhere he wanted to hang out. Manny was given to the deadly sins “Lust” and “Greed”, none of which seems apparent now.
This Pacquiao coming up in November- would still be taken to the brink by Zivic. But based on what I’m seeing now, particularly in conditioning, he will be physically prepared in a way he’s not been since Miguel Cotto in 2009. Pacquiao’s electrifying offense and great movement would off-set Zivic’s ferocity and intensity, while escaping with a narrow UD win.
While writing this, I simultaneously watched a classic bout between Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and the outrageously colorful Livingston Bramble.
Up Next- Pacquiao vs. Rios: The Kill Zone [Vol. V] “BoOm! BOom! BOOM!”