IBR on The Cruelest Sport


“Movement, confident or desperate, is a natural consequence of sharing a ring with Rios, yet only Pacquiao has eluded him for twelve rounds. As if made of a denser matter, Rios, 147, imposes a gravitational pull on his opponents. Despite his leaden feet, despite often closing without punching, opponents inevitably find Rios tucked under their chins, working his fists into exposed tissue with uncanny accuracy. It is in these moments that a fighter must show his nerve, and it is in these moments that Chaves unraveled.”

Read An Ugly Affair: Brandon Rios DQ9 Diego Chaves on The Cruelest Sport.


IBR on The Cruelest Sport


“If we are to permit the words their full intention, it is either premature, or patently false, to say that “Pacquaio is back.” Yes, the fighter that so easily befuddled and abused Rios looked similar to the little terror who ran roughshod over a handful of divisions before running headlong into catastrophe against Juan Manuel Marquez. The lateral movement and hand speed were there; and the power, despite Rios’ predictable protestations to the contrary, was certainly on display. But it was a subdued performance from Pacquiao, one marked not by tentativeness—you cannot be tentative against Rios—so much as curiosity. Pacquiao seemed to be reacquainting himself not only with violence, but also its consequences.”

Read The Perfect Foil: Manny Pacquiao W12 Brandon Rios on The Cruelest Sport.

IBR on The Cruelest Sport


“It is the wrong way to end a fight: looking more like the victim of a skydiving misadventure than the loser of a boxing match. Yet, this is how welterweight Manny Pacquiao found himself last December, when Juan Manuel Marquez so stunningly nailed him into the MGM Grand Garden Arena canvas. It is hard to believe that the most memorable moment in a career as improbable as Pacquiao’s may now be a loss. This is not to mistake it for the most defining moment. No, there are too many images of his hands raised, his foes broken, to trump his furious run. Pacquiao, 54-3-2 (38), will always be defined by his wins; by the performances he delivered securing them. But how he responds to the Marquez loss could determine his future in ways none of his previous fights could. For the first time in his career, Pacquiao, who faces Brandon Rios at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China, Saturday night, is faced with questions not even he can answer. Or maybe it is just one question: Is Manny Pacquiao finished as a prizefighter?”

Read “The Specter: Manny Pacquiao-Brandon Rios Preview” on The Cruelest Sport.