Manny Pacquiao ended his two-fight losing streak, defeating an overmatched Brandon Rios by unanimous decision in Macau, China.
Returning to the ring for the first time in 350 days after Juan Manuel Marquez knocked him out with a savage punch in their fourth meeting, Pacquiao dominated the bigger, but slower Rios with quick combinations and superior footwork on Saturday night/early Sunday morning.
On the judges’ scorecards, Pacquiao won by counts of 119-109, 118-110 and 120-108. From this observer’s pay-per-view perch, the latter was most reflective of the action in the ring that often saw Pacquiao snap Rios’ head back with straight left hands that brought smiles to the American’s battered face but generally little else in return. HBO PPV’s Harold Lederman gave Pacquiao a whitewash
According to CompuBox, the Filipino threw 790 punches connecting on 281 or 36%, versus 138 out of 502, or 27% for Rios, whose face was swollen and sustained cuts under both eyebrows.
With the contest well in hand, Pacquiao, who dedicated the fight to his typhoon-ravaged homeland, proceeded strategically in the latter rounds, foregoing a knockout attempt in favor of the caution he did not exhibit when he fell to Marquez last Dec. 8. He lost earlier in 2012 to Timothy Bradley on a controversial decision.
While HBO PPV tallies the buy rate over the next week, the men who defeated him last year loom as possible Pacquiao opponents. Ruslan Provodnikov has also mentioned as a potential foe next April.
The win also keeps alive hopes for a contest pitting "Pac Man" against Floyd "Money" Mayweather. That’s the mega bout boxing fans had hoped to see years ago, but it was derailed over disagreements from the camps over drug testing methods and terms. Mayweather later ratcheted up the rancor with an ethnic, homophobic against Pacquaio.