Mike Alvarado, right, battling Brandon Rios in Las Vegas on March 30th (Photo: Naoki Fukuda)
By Chris Robinson
The stage is set for Manny Pacquiao’s next fight, as the eight-division world champion will square off with all-action former titlist Brandon Rios on November 24th in Macau, China in an HBO pay per view face off.
Pacquiao is coming off of a devastating knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez this past December and there are mixed feelings on the Rios fight.
Some feel that that Oxnard, Calif. transplant will be easy prey given his straightforward style yet others see him as a formidable threat given his youth and relentlessness inside of the ring.
Speaking with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum on Tuesday evening, he insists that we will likely see something special in four months’ time.
“I think it’s going to be a terrific fight, an all-action fight,” Arum claimed. “The kind of fight people want to see. What else can you say about it? We know it’s going to be a knock down, drag out, bang bang kind of fight. That’s the only way Brandon Rios fights. I’m looking forward to a very, very exciting battle.”
Rios is coming off of the first loss of his professional career, as he dropped a unanimous decision to Mike Alvarado on March 30th in a highly-anticipated rematch in Las Vegas. Alvarado was also in the running to face Pacquiao and Arum revealed why the opportunity slipped away from the Denver native.
“Well, it was sort of a toss-up between them,” said Arum. “What really tipped the balance was that Alvarado injured [his] hand in the Rios fight and it was a relatively serious injury that required him to have surgery. And we talked with the doctor who conducted the surgery, and Mike was neglecting his rehabilitation of the hand.
“We felt that because it was such a momentous event in Asia, we just couldn’t take a chance of announcing a Pacquiao-Alvarado and then Mike had to pull out because the hand wasn’t fully healed,” Arum added.
An additional report by Nick Groke of the Denver Post reveals that Alvarado had torn a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand and that he has undergone surgery in Los Angeles three weeks ago.
As far as any communication he has had with Pacquiao, Arum pointed out that there hasn’t been much dialogue to due to Manny’s political campaigning in the Philippines for an election on Monday.
“I’ll have plenty of time to talk to him about all kinds of subjects after the election,” said Arum, who did state that Pacquiao was very supportive of the Rios matchup.
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Chris Robinson can be reached at Trimond@aol.com