Pacman vs. Bam Bam in China… no it is not some special edition of “The Flinstones” where the characters cross-over with the characters from the popular video games. As, first reported by Ring Magazine, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (54-5-2) will return to the ring on November 24, 2013 in Macau, China to face Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-1-1). The fight will air on the evening of November 23, 2013 in the United States on HBO Pay Per View.
Both fighters are coming off of loses. Last December, Pacquiao was knocked out cold in the 6th round of his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. In March, Rios suffered the only loss of his career via unanimous decision to Mike Alvarado in a rematch of a fight Rios won by 7th round knock out.
It has been reported that the Pacquiao camp, led by advisor Michael Koncz, chose Rios for Pacquiao’s comeback fight over a match with Alvarado and after Marquez and Timothy Bradley turned down the fight because of Rios’ style. It is a style that does not involve counterpunching or defense; rather, Rios is a brawling pressure fighter with good punching power who is more than willing to take two punches to land one. The Pacquiao camp must be thinking that the Filipino Congressman’s speed and boxing ability will be enough to defeat the Mexican-American mauler. It must have also piqued the interest of the Pacquiao camp that Rios is a career lightweight who only moved up to 140 pounds (officially) for the Alvarado bout in October, 2012. Now, Rios will move up in weight once again to face Pacquiao at 147 pounds.
Regardless of what the Pacquiao camp thinks, this fight will tell us a lot about where Pacquiao is physically and mentally following the knock out loss to his great rival, Marquez. If he is shopworn or even a shot fighter, Rios will run through him. If he is not mentally focused and does not get in top shape, Rios should be able to overcome him with physicality. However, if Pacquiao can get a win over Rios, he puts himself in a great position to rematch the winner of Marquez against Bradley, which is scheduled for September or October, 2013. A win by Rios could put him in discussion for a shot against either of those fighters or a trilogy making fight with Alvarado.
It will be very interesting to see how this pay per view does given that it will not be airing from the United States and, thus, the fighters will not be available for face time with the press (in fact, Pacquiao will have all of his training camp in the Philippines and not visit the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, California). It is not yet known if HBO will air a “24/7” reality series leading up to the fight or what other programing they may show. However, it will probably be quite successful overseas as Kevin Iole of Yahoo is reporting that it will be available for viewing online in China for $5 or $6. Additionally, Chinese two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Zhou Shiming will presumably be on the undercard. Further, the trainers involved with the fighters, Freddie Roach for Pacquiao and Robert Garcia for Rios, do not like each other and that could help in the promotion.