‘Careful’ Pacquiao learns lesson from Marquez loss
The sellout crowd at Cotai Arena inside the grandiose Venetian Macau Hotel and Casino rose to its feet in anticipation of a knockout that never came.
And there’s a reason behind it as Manny Pacquiao would admit.
“I’m very careful. I learned from my last fight,” a victorious Pacquiao said in an interview with HBO’s Larry Merchant before breaking a smile.
Pacquiao, whose hand was finally raised after scoring a lopsided decision over hard-as-nails Brandon Rios, didn’t show any effects from his devastating knockout loss to rival Juan Manuel Marquez 11 months ago as he reverted back to old lethal form.
“Recovering from the knockout and putting on a good show like the young Manny Pacquiao,” he said of his stirring comeback performance.
There wasn’t a knockout, stoppage nor even a knockdown but Pacquiao’s performance nonetheless showed flashes of his old self as he circled around a flat-footed Rios after throwing combination after combination like that of his sterling showing in his 12th round stoppage of Miguel Cotto four years ago.
The only difference was the brash Rios stayed on his feet and repeatedly gestured he wasn’t hurt despite his head getting cocked back over and over from Pacquiao’s flurry.
“I didn’t see Rios as an easy opponent. He is tough,” Pacquiao, who turns 35 next month, commended. “He is one of the toughest opponents of my career, he took a lot of punches.”
The bell rang signaling the end of the 12-round bout with Pacquiao’s face draped in sweat while Rios’ showed a badly beaten fighter, his left eye deeply cut, his right eye swelling and nose bloodied.
The crowd sensed a knockout was looming in the dwindling seconds. It never happened and judging by how Rios looked as the bell sounded, Pacquiao perhaps didn’t need one.
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