Don't follow boxing very often, but want to know the gist of Saturday's mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios? Follow boxing all the time, and want one place that rounds up all the links about the welterweight showdown you could ever want? This Ultimate Guide to the Nov. 23 pay-per-view event known as "The Clash in Cotai" is for you, no matter what kind of fan you are.
(Manny Pacquiao, left; Brandon Rios, right. via Amanda Kelley)
We begin, as always, with our work, which has you covered from most angles. I provided you an estimation of what was at stake, the keys to the fight and a final preview and prediction. Alex McClintock has been in Macau, China, filing reports from the location where the fight will take place, and he also previewed the undercard and gathered thoughts from the entire TQBR team in a staff roundtable. Then there was my scorecard on all this silliness that made headlines during the week, with the physical confrontation between the two rival camps. And I joined our Patrick Connor for a discussion of the fight on TQBR Radio.
Seeing the fighters in action is probably the best introduction. Embedded below are two "Greatest Hits" videos, which will give you a strong sense of the career arcs of both men. Other HBO videos of note include the 24/7 series episodes of which are online at HBO's YouTube channel/On Demand/HBO GO/reairing Friday evening at 7:30 ET, and will give you a likewise-strong sense of who the men are outside the ring; a few full fights from each man that you can find in the same locations; "Face Off," where the two sit down and talk over the fight with spooky music playing in the background; and "Under the Lights," which breaks down some key elements to the match-up. (The Inside HBO Boxing website also has some original news coverage, interviews and analysis.) Peruse the BoxRec pages of each man for a full accounting of every fight in their career.
Interested yet? It's going to cost you if you want to buy the PPV: $59.99 on standard television or $69.99 in HD, within a few cents. Check with your cable or satellite provider to see if they're offering any specials; word is some providers are offering deals like some free months of HBO in return for buying Pacquiao-Rios, although it might only apply to those who don't already subscribe to the channel. Tecate has a rebate offer again, it looks like, albeit for a very limited number of states. TopRank.tv also will be streaming it for $59.99.
TV schedule: The start time for Pacquiao-Rios is 9 p.m. Well, the card anyway. The main event is unlikely to begin before midnight. If I were you, I'd be in position around 11 p.m. at the latest, if you're only concerned with that fight. If you want to watch the weigh-in, it's live at 6:30 ET Friday on HBO, so rush over from here to there.
Here is what the mainstream media in America is saying about the fight. The New York Times' Greg Bishop does his usual excellent job, this time setting up the scene in China and the logistical issues Top Rank will deal with there. The Wall Street Journal analyzes the quest for the Chinese boxing market and how the typhoon-damaged Philippines will get the fight to Pacquiao's fans back home. Bob Velin in USA Today profiles Rios and his return from a loss, as well as his game plan for the fight. At The New York Daily News, Mitch Abramson wrote up the camp scuffle from this week. That same scuffle has Pacquiao vowing to avenge his chest-kicked trainer, via the Associated Press, which also has the Rios camp sounding very confident. As always, ESPN's Fight Credential is a great resource of running news and analysis before the fight.; At Yahoo, Kevin Iole has filed reports on who was to blame for that aforementioned camp scuffle, whether Pacquiao is on the decline and much more, including on promoter Bob Arum's belief about who killed JFK (!?). I can't really recommend The Washington Post's half-hearted effort to write about the fight, but it's better than their usual nothing.
The customary comedy conclusion: Depending on your sense of humor, the sloppy mess that was this scene earlier in the week offers grist for amusement…