To answer Brandon Rios’ post-fight question to Max Kellerman: Yes, “Bam Bam” you were a punching bag Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao.
I mean, that’s why Brandon Rios was selected for this co-starring slot in the first place, right?
Brandon Rios is Brandon Rios and that will never change. An “A” fighter in the pocket; A “C-” fighter in every other situation, the Mexican-American battler was just never, under any circumstances, going to beat a guy like Manny Pacquiao. Short of a pro-Rios sniper tucked away in the rafters of the Cotai Arena, Pacquiao was going to leave the ring with his hand raised.
This was a gimme, a soft touch, a softball lobbed right into Manny’s wheelhouse after two years of losses and frustrations. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a soft touch to a fighter who has done more than his fair share to bring big money and big attention to the sport. And for a gimme, Brandon Rios is top notch. Kudos to the matchmakers at Top Rank for finding a young, quality fighter so utterly perfect for the role of heavy bag– although it wasn’t really hard to see the stylistic mismatch ready to unfold with a guy previously befuddled by Richar Abril and Mike Alvarado.
Manny is not “back,” because he never really left us. Saturday was proof of that.
The “it sucks” factor for this promotion. however, was in the overall card and the lack of care in trying to make it entertaining to loyal, hardcore fight fans.
Yes, HELLO to China and it’s all about emerging markets and what not, but at least pretend to care about the fans who have been there through the years and will still be loyal long after the next Chinese government whim decides to distance itself from decadent Western boxing.
And for the record, all hail new money, but taking any sliver of boxing and basing it in the lawless, regulation-proof hustler’s paradise of Macau is a major defeat for those who push for reform and a move away from boxing’s “Red Light District” image.
If the sport chooses to move some action to the shadow zone, there’s nothing that can be done, but at least give the fans an entertaining product while exploiting new markets.
Saturday’s undercard was a disgrace.
A rematch of an ESPN2 bout as a pay-per-view co-feature? Billy Dib! C’mon.
Andy Ruiz vs. Tor Hamer? Two sucky rounds of the chubby Ruiz getting slapped around, then Hamer quitting on his stool after a pitiful third. It was such a poor showing that it inspired Hamer’s promoter, Lou DiBella, to release his fighter via Twitter.
Two six-rounders featuring Olympic big shots, Zou Shiming and Felix Verdejo against guys not even worthy of being on the Olympic Village cleaning crew.
It was a sad, pathetic effort with a bloated $60-$70 price tag. Obviously, Top Rank and Bob Arum were looking to cut corners on a show not likely to produce stellar PPV numbers, but it has already been established that Arum and company are geniuses when it comes to matchmaking for making Brandon Rios their punching bag of choice. Why not take that same genius and apply it to making some nice, budget-minded features? Just as most of us knew Pacquiao-Rios would be a mismatch, there was wide recognition that the undercard would likely be painfully awful. Some fans went ahead and bought the show, anyway. They were punished for their loyalty with four snoozers building to a one-sided romp.
Apparently, the media members who made the long, subsidized trip to Macau were treated like kings. Max Boxing’s Radio Rahim even found it necessary to give Top Rank a big, sloppy
blow j public thank you for the accommodations and the way they made him feel “respected.”
Well, the rest of us didn’t get free shrimp cocktails and an extra mint on our pillow. We want to be respected, too. But keep the ego-stroking amenities and bartered access. Respect us by giving us a good show. That’s all we ask.
You can email Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org or just form your own rankings panel and name him no.1 contender to a forever-vacant world champ. Paul is a full member of the Burger King Kids’ Club, a born iconoclast, and an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.