The eyes of the boxing world are focused on Macao, China and the highly-anticipated match between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios this Saturday.
Though this doesn’t feel like a Pacquiao fight when he was at his peak, it’s still a huge bout and a lot hangs in the balance for Pacquiao and his career. He sits as a (-470) favorite, with the comeback on Rios at (+375).
The common thinking is that Pacquiao’s time of dominance is over after suffering back-to-back losses. Pacquiao and his team accepted Rios as an opponent because of his style, which is tailor-made for Pacquiao. So despite his dropoff, he has booked this as a bounce-back fight.
The rhetoric from the Pacquiao camp is typical, saying that he’s focused and in the best shape he’s been in for a long time. Trainer Freddie Roach is predicting a knockout and the pre-fight heat between the two camps has been ratcheted up now that fight week is here.
Roach was involved in an incident that could have escalated into a brawl with the Rios camp and there’s been a long history of vulgarities exchanged between the two camps. The funny thing is this stuff plays into Rios’ hands.
Rios (31-1-1) has been fighting at a high level for a long time. His brawling style comes from his street-fighter mind set and he prefers a firefight. He thrives when a fight gets emotional. This is the biggest bout if his life and his biggest payday, so bettors can count on getting Rios’ A-plus game.
Pacquiao will remain unemotional and will try to be precise and land his big punch to take out Rios. If Rios is somehow able to stay safe or take Pac-Man’s power, then he has a legitimate shot. A loss to Pacquiao could send the Filipino star on the road to retirement but the bookmakers don’t think Rios can do it.
Miguel Iturrate covers boxing for MMAOddsbreaker.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MMAMiguel.
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