Manny Pacquiao announced this week that his next opponent will be the all-action fighter Brandon Rios. Rios recently lost a competitive rematch against Mike Alvarado that left many fans begging for a rubber match. The first fight between them was a battle of unbeaten warriors that produced one of the most explosive style match-ups in the history of the sport. Pacquiao’s fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez left the Filipino fighter’s dominance of the welterweight division in shambles when he was knocked unconscious halfway through the bout.  Tim Bradley Jr. also beat Pacquiao not long ago, then facing the formidable Ruslan Provodnikov in a spectacular slugfest that dispelled many fight fans’ preconceptions about Bradley’s fighting style.  While either of these fighters could have provided an adequate follow-up for Pacquiao, nobody really wanted to see those fights.  Whether Rios wins or loses against Pacquiao, the rubber match with Alvarado is assured.  At this point, it’s a win-win opportunity for Rios and for the fans.  For Pacquiao, however, the fight will either serve to resurrect his career or to bury it.  While it’s true that a flat-footed slugger is Pacquiao’s specialty, Rios is no normal slugger.  Throwing upwards of 90 punches in some of the rounds against Alvarado, Rios has a voracious appetite for combat that the aging Filipino may no longer be capable of sustaining.  With a heart and chin to match, Rios is probably the best possible opponent for Pacquiao, both giving him the opportunity for a big name win and the fans a chance to see an exceptional fight.

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