Who doesn’t love a good fight? A great bout can announce the arrival of a new star, turn a star into a legend or simply entertain a thrilled audience. And let’s be clear here… 2013 was a great year for fights. The hardest part of compiling this list was thinking about what to leave out rather than looking for bouts to put in and there are number of contests that likely deserve at least an honorable mention only to find themselves excluded because I didn’t want to list dozens of contests.
Did anyone expect a different winner?
You know a doorstop attached to the wall? One the sits there unmoving, has the door crash into it again and again, get chipped, splintered and broken down… but every so often you stub your toe on it? That’s Brandon Rios. He was a cricket ball bowled by the England team; more in hope than expectation and then blocked, parried, hit and occasionally smashed to long on while sticking around for over after over despite the damage done to it… and every so often glancing painfully off a hand.
Manny Pacquiao won and won easily. He was too quick, too sharp, too accurate, too fast with his hands and feet and too slick. That’s not really surprising. If a bigger, stronger, more powerful and more experienced Margarito… a man who had actually shown the ability to track down fairly quick boxers previously… couldn’t really do anything to Pacquiao there was no reason to suspect Rios would be able to. The pre-fight discussion was all about how Rios was tailor made for Pac and the fight simply showed that to be true. Rios was slow, flat footed, befuddled by movement, defensively weak and simply outclassed. He tried to box in the first round and that didn’t work. He went back to his brawling and didn’t do much better. He had no answers to Pacquiao’s speed, to his combinations or to his movement. Frankly I wouldn’t have objected if his corner pulled him out after about seven rounds… there was no indication anything would change going forward and… unsurprisingly… it didn’t.
And frankly it’s all a but farcical.
That’s not limited to the crude “brawl” between the pairs respective training staff but to the entire bout itself.
Yes, Pacquiao is coming off a brutal knockout loss. And yes there was another controversial loss before that. And yes, in all honesty he hadn’t looked that great in the two bouts before that. Considering his level of competition and the situation he’s in, he’s allowed to have a soft bout for his return.
But this soft? And for people (in the US at least) being expected to pay for it?