WILL it sell hot like exquisite Chinese noodles in Macau or be snubbed like cold rubbery steak by the pay-per-view audience in America?
There are serious questions being raised behind the scenes long before the countdown began for the Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios bombs-away showdown in November.
Of course, none of these questions dare tackle the quality of the must-win clash between “boxing’s best offensive stars.”
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Here at home, Pacquiao fans are one in swearing it would be the original Pacquiao, the Pacific Storm, who will be showing up in the gleaming Asian gaming capital to reignite his fading career.
There’s the common belief that Rios, a former world champ who has lost only once but has never been stopped, is sure to be chopped down.
All for the simple fact that Rios, these same fans allege, doesn’t know how to step back inside the ring and thus promises to be a complete picnic package for Pacquiao.
Add to that, fans say, is the fact that Pacquiao is sure to recapture his old firepower, and you have the promise of a delectable stoppage of the Ricky Hatton kind.
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That’s easy to believe.
But there are those who say that, although the Pacman would be very hot and sharp again offensively, he could not do any better in defense as when he last fought and lost to Juan Manuel Marquez on American soil.
Of course, trainer Freddie Roach, sounding cocksure, swore he would not be pleased with anything short of a knockout.
Next looms the image of Pacquiao rising on the shoulders of ecstatic handlers before fans could fully settle on their seats in Macau.
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Not too quick, please.
“He (Pacquiao) commits a lot of mistakes, and these we will surely exploit,” Rios remarked at the start of the world media tour for the Macau showdown.
The way Rios put it, he could take the best of Pacquiao’s punches; how sure is the Filipino superhero that he himself could still take severe punishment?
Of course, Pacquiao has always assured there’ll be no repeat of the nightmare lights-out stoppage he had suffered at the hands of the dedicated, hard-working Marquez last December.
Either Pacquiao was careless, or Marquez was lucky to be at the perfect spot at the right time?
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Truth is that Pacquiao, if he doesn’t show up at his durable best, could again land on the floor in a wink.
This was what exactly happened in the third round against Marquez when Pacquiao was floored by what looked like an insignificant right to the forehead.
All told, Pacquiao, more than restoring his original firepower, should work doubly hard to recapture his original toughness.
That incredible third-round incident clearly showed that Pacquiao could no longer take as much as he dishes out against a credentialed opponent.
He must do something to correct this fatal flaw quick.