[box type=”default” size=”large”] Manny Pacquiao (right) delivers a straight punch to Brandon Rios [/box]Manny Pacquiao dominated the fight against Mexican-American Brandon Rios from beginning to end, but it seemed the power punches that knocked out his opponents in the past had deserted him.
In the company of Ryan Rosario, Betsy Henry, Bernie Duller and other Filipino boxing fans, we watched the Nov. 23 fight on HD television at Champs on Big Beaver Road, Troy. The bout was held in the Venetian Hotel in Macau, China.
Harnessing his blurring speed to the hilt, the 34-year-old Filipino boxing icon repeatedly peppered the face and body of the 27-year-old Rios with crisp jabs, left straight and 1-2-3 combinations but it looked like his hands did not have much wallop as he failed to knock down his rival.
Or it could be that the younger fighter was so superbly conditioned that his athleticism and durability were at their peak, and that was why Pacquiao’s relentless pounding did not have much sting.
Filipino boxing expert Ed Tolentino believed, however, that Pacquiao could have knocked down Rios with an “avalanche of punches” but he did not do so because he was cautious.
It was clear, though, that Pacquiao was the more experienced and skillful fighter with a lot of his blows finding their mark. Noting his remarkable punching accuracy, American boxing columnists and analysts commented that Pacquiao is the dominating boxer he used to be. His dominance was so complete that the experts remarked he had run a boxing clinic for the benefit of Rios.
The scorecards of the judges confirmed his lopsided win. One judge had Pacquiao winning all the 12 bouts (120-100), while the two others scored 119-109 and 118-110 in favor of the Filipino.
But to Filipino fans of Pacquiao who watched the match on pay-per-view TV, there were scary moments. With his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez not yet erased in their memory, the fans feared that Rios could, at any time, land a haymaker. And in the rare instance Rios connected, the fans groaned in unison.
But most of the time, the wily Pacquiao evaded Rios’s pressing attack and countered with combinations.
After the unanimous decision in favor of Pacquiao was announced by Michael Buffer, the Filipino fans had some questions: Is Pacquiao ready to reclaim ring glory? Who will be his next opponent? Is it either Bradley or Marquez?
Many fans agreed that if his next fight is not against either of the two, it would just be a money-making venture for Pacquiao and his promoter.