Pacquiao hands Rios a severe lesson on his comeback
Both Rex Tso and Zou Shiming sweep to easy victories
Manny Pacquiao (Philippines) v Brandon Rios (United States)
The ringside is full of people. Ring girls, officials, Michael Buffer, the ring announcer … here's the announcement ... 120-107 ... 118-110 in Pacman's favour ... by unanimous decision ... MANNY PACQUIAO!!!! … the crowd roars ... Manny raises his arms with his belt … this is an exciting moment for him. He is being interviewed by the TV networks. It was an exciting fight … Pacquiao proved he was still back. The whole of the Philippines will see this result as a huge blessing and an inspiration. "Brandon gave me a tough fight. Thank you all the fans very much. Thank you God ... my time is not no more ... I can still fight. One of my best fights of my career. To all the people in the Philippines, thank you!" said Pacquiao.
- Final round: Pacquiao is still able to string together a series of beautiful combinations. Both fighters are bit weary… there is some sportsmanship in this round as the pair touch gloves. Pacquiao throws right, left combinations. The crowd is cheering the end of the fight ... lots of people are on their feet, screaming, helling … Rios tries to land that one big punch … it’s all over ... the two embrace! Manny Pacquiao will win this fight by either majority decision or unanimous decision.
- Round 11: Rios’ cutman has been working on the American’s face. His left eye is still bleeding and his face looks puffy. Rios is getting tired it seems. Pacman is landing blow after blow, left and right combinations. Rios tries to follow, but Pacman slips away. Rios swings wildly. Rios lifts Pacman in the air when they get entangled. One more round to go in this entertaining and exciting fight!
- Round ten: Both fighters are still going strong. Pacman lands superb left hooks. But they are not hurting Rios. You can hear the leather being slammed against Rios’ face from the press area. So far, Rios, as strong as he is, has not been able to hit Pacquiao enough to cause any real damage.
- Round nine: Rios still going strong despite a lot of punishment. Rios warned for holding. The fight continues. Rios is so hard to be knocked down despite Pacquiao's best effort. He's like a bulldozer that just keeps coming at you. Pacman's left hook lands squarely on Rios' jaw at the end of the round. But Rios shakes it off and shakes his head as if to say 'I am still standing'.
- Round eight: Rios again holding Pacman and hitting with his other fist. He does this for about 20 seconds. Manny finally gets away. Pacman hits Rios right at the bell and Rios is angry. He tries to confront Pacquiao but is waved to his corner. Blood is streaming down Rios’ left eye. His cornermen work furiously on Rios.
- Round seven: Beautiful left and right hands by Pacquiao … Rios shakes his head as if to say "you’re not hurting me”. Rios again tries land body shots and misses his left hooks. He clinches and hits with left. Rios is not delivering but he’s taking it. So far, Pacquiao has won every round but one. Rios eyes are puffy.
- Round six: Midway through the round and the crowd chants Manny, Manny! Rios is trying to land one big punch. Pacquiao much too quick and smart. Pacquiao looks at the referee, possibly for a low blow, leaving him exposed for one moment. But he comes back, they exchange blows ... Round is more even.
- Round five: Pacquiao gets away on his feet really quick, it’s beginning to frustrate Rios … but he’s not giving up yet. Pacman throws nice combinations, he is landing effectively ... right and left ... Rios clinches and hits with his right. A big round for Pacquiao ... Beckham and Paris Hilton are seated… they are being shown on the big screen.
- Round four: Rios is booed for holding Pacquiao and hitting him with the other hand. Referee separates the two fighters. Rios is warned for a blow to Pacman’s ear. A lot of clinching by Rios. Manny scores a left hook and is getting his punches in. Rios still looking strong. Rios is missing a lot of punches. Pacquiao’s round. Eight more rounds to go in this scheduled 12-round fight for the WBO international welterweight title.
- Round three: Manny is superior in speed and strength. If this continues, the fight is going to end soon. Rios just isn’t enough damaging, but he has one of the strongest chins in the welterweight division and so far he hasn’t gone down yet. Rios shows he’s a dangerous fighter, Manny is cornered and Rios lets loose with a barrage of punches, but Manny slips away. Rios is starting to hog the centre of the ring. Not as easy as the crowd thinks.
- Round two: It’s all Manny at the moment. Rios tries to throw body shots, but there are ineffective. So far, Rios hasn’t been showing anything, other than throwing body shots. He hasn’t been able to catch Manny. Pacquiao is faster and causing much more damage. Rios swings wildly, gets Manny with a body shot. Another big round for Manny…. He throws left, left, right and another combination, all hitting their target. The crowd roars.
- Fight begins …. A big round for Manny Pacquiao! He scores several beautiful left jabs. Rios falls to the canvas, but he just slipped. He gets up immediately. Manny scores with some superb left hooks.
- Rios enters the ring to loud, rap music … then Mexican music. Rios is booed ... They are screaming “Manny, Manny, Manny" as he enters to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”. Manny finally enters the national colours of the Philippines. Manny prays in the corner … the fight is going to start soon …"Let's Get Ready To Rumble!!!" says Michael Buffer.
- They are showing a video of Pacquiao and Rios being interviewed together in the same room. Rios is roundly booed before even the man is in the ring. Pacquiao is cheered by a partisan crowd every time his image is on the big screen. There is no question who is getting the better support.
- The crowd is really rocking now. All sorts of celebrities here from Paris Hilton to Stephen Baldwin ... they are waiting for the big moment. But first a dance from the ring dancers. The Cotai Arena is absolutely teeming. There are about 15,000 at the scene, including some 300 journalists from all over the world covering the event. Jessica Sanchez, runner-up of this year’s American Idol, sings both American and Filipino national anthems as the crowd is chanting Manny, Manny, Manny!
Billy Dibb (Australia) v Evgeny Gradovich (Russia)
A very even fight but Gradovich, the Mexican-Russian, seemed to have his second wind after tiring a bit. Gradovich's left eye is bloodied and he's fighting with his hands down a bit. A HUGE upperhand that completely staggers Dibb ... Gradovich is looking for a big knockout. Amazing Dibb is still standing.
Gradovich puts him a corner and grinds away with a series of searing combinations. Dibb is moving all over the place, up and down, left and right, but he survives the round! It's now the eighth round. Dibb looked good in fourth and fifth rounds but Gradovich is coming back. Dibb wants his title back, which Gradovich took in March. Gradovich made his first title defence in Fists of Gold II in July. They are meeting for the first time since Dibb lost to him. It's ALL OVER. Referee steps in to stop the fight and at the end of the ninth round.
NEXT UP Manny Pacquiao v Brandon Rios, the main event everybody has been waiting for. David Beckham is seen on the video saying "good luck" to Pacquiao ....
Andy Ruiz Jnr earlier gained another impressive victory. The 24-year-old was too strong, too quick and too resilient for fellow American Thor Hamer as he stretched his unbeaten record to 21-0-0, 15 KOs after Hamer couldn’t answer the bell at the start of the fourth round after Ruiz scored massive big right hands and left-right combinations. Another big win for Ruiz, the chubby fighter, who is starting to make a real impact on the heavyweight division.
Juan Tuscano (Mexico) v Zou Shiming (China)
The crowd has really picked up for this second feature bout. It is full to the rim. I can’t really see any empty seats. It’s an amazing crowd. The crowd, the noise and the music.
Zou enters the ring with his handlers and carrying the national flag. The fight begins. I’m amazed by Zou’s movement. He is finally looking like a professional fighter. He is throwing combinations. The crowd is amazed. The last time in July, he looked like a weary fighter. This time, he’s all business. He’s looking well.
Zou has won his first professional fights by points… could this be his first knockout success?
It’s already the sixth round and Toscano is hurt. He is being hurt constantly by the two-time Olympic gold medallist. Zou is moving well and he is throwing good combinations. He is not afraid to step it and take punishment. This is a different fighter. Toscano has blood streaming down his left eye. His handlers had to attend to the cut at the end of the fifth round. Zou definitely won by unanimous decision. Let’s wait for the official decision.
Yes, it’s official: Zou wins by UD.
Felix Verdejo (Puerto Rico) v Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (Thailand)
Earlier, organisers moved the last fight – Dan Nazareno Jnr (Philippines) v Liam Vaughan (England) – to fifth spot as previous fights ended quickly.
Nazareno proved no match for the Liverpudian, with the Filipino winning the super welterweight contest with a second round TKO.
The very highly-regarded Felix Verdejo of Puerto Rico was then up against Thailand’s Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan in a lightweight contest. It was no contest. Verdejo easily outpunched, outboxed the Thai fighter, who was outclassed. It was a total mismatch as the Thai got continued hit .. and had the audacity to ask for more punishment. Brave but foolish. Verdejo proved a very classy fighter and is touted as the “next big thing” by promoters Top Rank. The Thai doesn’t go down despite the onslaught and tries to win the crowd. Verdejo easily wins the fight by unanimous decision. Felix raises his record to 9-0-0 and judging by his performance this morning, definitely a future world contender.
Next up--Juan "Polly" Toscano (Mexico) v Zou Shiming (China)
Susu Sithjadeang (Thailand) v Rex Tso (Hong Kong)
Hong Kong’s golden boy, Rex Tso, is introduced on stage. The crowd is beginning to pick up. It’s about 70 per cent full.
Fight starts. Rex is all over his Thai opponent. Unbelievable. A right hook seconds into the fight sends Susu crashing into the canvas. It didn’t look like a hard blow. But the referee gives Susu a standing eight count. Susu appears a bit dazed. Will Rex finish him off?
Second round--Rex goes for the kill. He is throwing leather all over Susu, who is on the defensive. Susu is putting his hands up … Rex is throwing left and right combinations. Will they stop the fight?
Yes. The referee steps in and stops the fight. Rex Tso’s brilliant unbeaten record continues. It’s now 11-0-0. It’s official. Rex wins by a TKO.
So far the action has been fast and furious. Let me tell you about the earlier bouts that kicked off the contest.
The programme started with Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre knocking out Jason Butar Butar of Indonesia in the third round. Dela Torre, who comes from General Santos City, the same city as his hero Manny Pacquiao, knocked down his opponent with a crushing right. Butar couldn’t get up at the count of ten.