Plenty left in Pacquiao's tank
Our Derek Bilton brings you his latest World P4P rankings as he looks back on Manny Pacquiao's victory over Brandon Rios.
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Manny Pacquiao looked far more like the old Manny Pacquiao than an old Manny Pacquiao as he bewitched and battered Brandon Rios over 12 sessions in Macau.
'Pac Man' had stated in the build up to the fight that he was boxing for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan and he didn't let his people down as he totally dominated 'Bam Bam' Rios, using his own unique blend of skill and speed to punch out a 120-108 119-109 118-110 decision on the cards.
Having lost his last two contests, to Tim Bradley (contentiously on points) and to Juan Manuel Marquez (emphatically by KO), the jury was out as to whether Manny still had what was required at the top level in the hardest game of all.
But the fighting pride of the Philippines showed there is still plenty in the tank as he regularly beat a game, gutsy Rios to the punch. Time after time Pacquiao flurried and made Rios eat fistfuls of leather as an enthusiastic Far East crowd chanted his name in unison.
The talk afterwards inevitably turned to one Floyd Mayweather Jnr, a fighter who Pacquiao's name has been inexorably linked to over the past half a decade.
I have not been able to see that happening for many moons now but given the fact that Mayweather vanquished Saul Alvarez so easily, and given Manny's recent tax issues in his homeland, don't rule out the pair finally meeting in 2014.
The fight would definitely not have the same lustre attached to it had they boxed in say 2009 but there is no doubting it would still do huge, huge business.
I would make Floyd a red hot betting favourite going in but you cannot discount the Pac Man, who has been amazing fight fans since bursting onto the scene almost exactly a decade ago this month when he totally destroyed modern great Marco Antonio Barrera in what was a seismic shock at the time.
Elsewhere Andre Ward made a successful return to battle after surgery as he eased past Edwin Rodriguez in California. The 'Son of God' had been inactive for over a year after shoulder trouble but made light of the ring rust as he won a unanimous decision in a non-title affair. It was solid if unspectacular again from Ward, a fighter who does what is required of him on the night and then goes home.
That Ward is now the best boxer on the planet not called Floyd Mayweather isn't really up for debate. What is however is where he will go next, with whispers he may be willing to travel to the UK to meet Carl Froch if the numbers add up.
Froch laboured to victory against George Groves and was outboxed by Ward when they met in the Super Six but Ward v Froch II over here would probably sell out a football stadium.
Gennady Golovkin's relentless march to the top continues after he stopped Curtis Stevens while Tim Bradley again stepped up to the plate recently as he beat Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas last month.
'Team Marquez' cried robbery afterwards but it was nothing of the sort as the younger, fresher US warmonger took the fight to the veteran Mexican from first bell to last. The contest ebbed and flowed but despite the split decision finale Bradley was a worthy winner on my card and will hopefully get some more big fights off the back of the win.
Bradley is WBO champion and a man unbeaten in 32 professional contests. Despite this he remains unloved by the vast majority of the boxing public. He isn't brash, doesn't get arrested or throw his money around and does his talking in the ring.
As a result he isn't the name he should be in the sport but those who know what they are looking at will concur he is the goods. I know better than to write Marquez off again but have no choice but to slide him down our latest top 10.
Sportinglife.com pound-for-pound world top 10:
1 Floyd Mayweather
2 Andre Ward
3 Manny Pacquaio
4 Adrien Broner
5 Guillermo Rigondeaux
6 Gennady Golovkin
7 Timothy Bradley
8 Juan Manuel Marquez
9 Sergio Martinez
10 Roman Gonzalez
Honourable mentions: Wladimir Klitschko, Saul Alvarez, Danny Garcia, Nonito Donaire, Carl Froch and Yuriorkis Gamboa.