There’s something very special about a Manny Pacquiao fight in Calgary. Yeah, a few other people might show up when I go to my favourite sports bar to watch the fight but if Pacquiao is fighting, then you get their early, chew your food slowly and put up with all the crap that they decide to air on the TVs at the time (Seriously, was anyone demanding that soccer be on one of the TVs?).
The last two times I went to see a Manny Pacquiao fight, my father was with me and even though he didn’t get the victory, we had a great time. Even though he is now a couple thousand miles away and in a different province, he and my mother both went out and watched the fight. I wondered if they had the patience to sit through all the bouts on the undercard and then get to the main event but they were able to.
Let me start by going over a few of the bouts on the under-card.
Rex Tso vs Susu Sithjadaeng
I noticed that Sithjadaeng had what looked like bruising around his abdominals and I texted my dad saying that Tso was probably going to go out there and do some good body work.
Jim Lampley and Roy Jones congratulated themselves for never mispronouncing the name Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan during his mismatch loss to Felix Verdejo. Good for them because I have a hard time even trying to guess how you pronounce it.
I was a bit concerned during the fight because it looked like Duanaaymukdahan was having trouble keeping his mouthpiece in which reminded me of Nigel Benn vs Gerald McClellan.
I was also a bit concerned that neither the corner nor the referee decided to call a halt to the contest to save Duanaaymukdahan from any more punishment. Yes he was looking jovial at times, but that was only because Verdejo hadn’t knocked him out.
Zou Shiming vs Juan Tozcano
I’d heard that despite being a two time Olympic gold medal winner, Shiming was setting anybody on fire with his two bouts as a pro. However it seems with most of the boxing world focusing on China last night, Shiming decided that he would let it all out and battered Tozcano. Once again, where was the corner or the referee to call a halt and say, “That’s it-it’s over”?
Andy Ruiz Jr vs Tor Hamer
“Ruiz has boobs” I texted to my father just as the bell rang for the first round. And boobs or no boobs, I thought that Tor Hamer was actually doing a good job in the first two rounds and was hanging in there when Ruiz came back strongly in the third.
And it seems that was all Tor Hamer could handle. In a decision that made “No Mas” look like a normal, barely controversial issue, Tor Hamer surrendered on his stool and promptly exited the ring. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Yeah, Ruiz had a good third round but was it really that hard for Hamer? It’s not the kind of thing you would expect from a former Golden Gloves champion.
The only good thing that came from this was Lou DiBella, who apologized for Hamer’s performance and promptly released him via Twitter. You know you’re doing badly when you get fired over social networks. Hamer’s purse is also being withheld and if this were a just world, it would be donated to victims of the typhoon.
Billy Dib vs Evgeny Gradovich
I’ll be honest, I was kind of bored during this fight.
Boxing wasn’t working for Dib so he tried going toe to toe with Gradovich but that only worked for one round because Gradovich was the stronger fighter.
Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios
Remember a few years ago when it was Manny Pacquiao who fought twice a year compared to Floyd Mayweather who would only fight once? Who would have thought those roles would ever be reversed?
The pro-Pacquiao crowd in the bar got really loud as the fight started and would cheer when anything solid landed, which was often. At one point, it actually got incredibly quiet in the bar and ended when Pacquiao planted a left hand right on Rios’ face.
I’m hearing a lot of people say that while it was a dominating performance (I had Pacquiao winning every round) it wasn’t very exciting. I suppose that depends where you were watching it from and who with because it was very exciting where I was sitting. We would cringe when Manny went into the corner, we were puzzled when he would talk to the referee but we would always scream when something landed.
Even though it was his longest length of inactivity, I wasn’t expecting Manny Pacquiao to go in and stand toe to toe with Rios and trade with him. He did what he had to do, fight a very disciplined fight, use his hand and foot speed to his advantage and make Rios look foolish.
Credit to Brandon Rios for hanging in there but the man has to add more to his arsenal. He seemed to be stuck on Plan A the whole night and it clearly wasn’t working after four rounds. I couldn’t hear what advice his corner was giving him but I don’t think it would have helped. While he was cut over his left eye and had swelling above both eyes and a bloody nose, it wasn’t as gruesome as Antonio Margarito’s face after his match with Pacquiao. Rios’ face was the Mini-Me version of that.
So what’s next for Pacquiao? I don’t think another Marquez bout is in the future because JMM has said he wants a rematch with Bradley or he’s retiring.
So what about a Bradley rematch? After all, Bradley went through the trouble of making a rematch poster before their first fight had ended and because of the enormous controversy in their first fight and Bradley’s redemption against Provodnikov and Marquez, it would bring in a lot of money. And it might be the perfect way for Manny Pacquiao to close his career, if he wants to keep fighting after next year.
As for Rios, most likely a rubber-match with Mike Alverado, who recently lost his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov. However he’s got to get back to the fundamentals and get some adaptability in his system. He can smile and shake his head at every punch that bounces off of it, but he’s got to know that if he keeps that up, he’ll be lucky if he isn’t punch drunk by the time he’s 30 and despite how you may feel about Brandon Rios, I don’t think that’s anything anyone wants to see.