Brandon Rios is a former lightweight titleholder and while Manny Pacquiao also won a lightweight title during his run to winning belts in a record eight weight classes, he has been fighting as a full-time welterweight since 2009.
So there are a lot of folks who automatically just assume Pacquiao will be the bigger man in his showdown with Rios on Nov. 23 (HBO PPV) in Macau, China. But Rios, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and those who have seen the fighters next to each other would beg to differ.
Indeed, when Rios and Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) went on their summer media tour, it was very obvious Rios was much bigger than Pacquiao. He has several inches on the Pacman in height, a longer reach and just looked thicker.
When Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) spoke to the boxing media on a teleconference Tuesday to promote the scheduled 12-round showdown, he dismissed the notion some raised that he was just a smaller guy coming up to welterweight after having his past two fights at junior welterweight, where he split two hellacious bouts with Mike Alvarado. Rios won the first last October by seventh-round knockout, but suffered his first career loss in his last bout when he dropped a decision in March in a leading fight of the year candidate.
"If [Pacquiao] thinks I'm the smaller guy -- at the press conferences -- I believe that he was smaller than me, so I'm not the smaller guy," Rios said. "If you believe that then your eyes are deceiving you, because I'm not smaller than Pacquiao. Pacquiao's smaller than me."
Rios has been known to say a lot of crazy things, but that comment was on the mark.
"That's a good point that Brandon raises because Pacquiao is the much smaller guy," Arum said. "Brandon towers over Pacquiao. He's much bigger than Pacquiao."
Arum, who had just returned from the Philippines, where he attended Pacquiao's media day, said Pacquiao weighed 142 pounds, well under the 147-pound weight limit for the bout. Arum said it was all trainer Freddie Roach could do to keep Pacquiao even that heavy and that he had taken to having him eat five meals a day. Meanwhile, Arum said Rios weighed 152 pounds on Tuesday.
As a lightweight, Rios struggled severely with weight, so moving up is probably best for him, anyway. Twice, he missed weight for lightweight title bouts, getting stripped of his belt for being over the 135-pound limit for a December 2011 defense against John Murray (whom he stopped in the 11th round, leaving the belt vacant) and taking a controversial split decision against Richar Abril in April 2012 for the still-vacant belt. It remained vacant because Rios was 137 pounds.