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Manny Pacquiao vs Jessie Vargas: Brandon Rios shares key overlooked intangible

Lee Cleveland Updated
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When comparing and contrasting fighters' strengths and weaknesses heading into a bout, we often evaluate experience levels, height and reach, age, punching power, quality of opposition, technique, speed, and ring IQ.

After all, a proper analysis of the above factors can often help fans determine which fighter may have the upper hand in a match-up. However, there are intangibles we fail to take into account, and some are more significant than others.

One key element we often overlook in superfights is a fighter's experience on that stage.

Sparring at a gym in front 50 people is much different than fighting in front of 5,000 in an auditorium. And fighting a legend in a high stakes main event of a PPV is much different than fighting a peer-level opponent on subscriber HBO.


Manny Pacquiao vs
Jessie Vargas PPV

Date: Saturday, November 5
Time: 9PM ET/6PM PT
Network: Top Rank
Cost: $69.99 (not confirmed)

Will a fighter who is fighting on boxing's biggest stage for the first time become tense or anxiety-ridden because he's awed or overcome by the moment? If so, how will it impact his performance?

Conversely, how much of an advantage does a fighter who has frequented the big stage often have over an opponent who has never fought in a similar situation?

When Jessie Vargas faces Manny Pacquiao next month, it'll be unlike anything the former has experienced to date. Sure, he fought Tim Bradley on subscriber HBO; But now he'll be fighting a sports legend in the main event of a high-profile PPV card.

Recently, former Pacquiao foe Brandon Rios admitted he was overcome by the situation in his Fall 2013 showdown with Manny. And while Brandon stopped well short of using that as an excuse for losing, he suggested he could have given Manny a better challenge had he not been overwhelmed by the moment and Pacquiao’s stature.

"Anxiety, anxious...just anxious...it's hard to explain it...you get goosebumps...my nerves never went away during the Pacquiao fight," Rios recently told FightHype.com.

"I had goosebumps the whole fight."

"I thought my nerves would go away in the Pacquiao fight. They never went away," an animated Rios added.

"I just couldn't believe I was fighting a f**k*n' legend like him."

"He f**k*d me up. I give him credit. But ... it's hard to explain. It was like WOW!"

No matter how much Jessie Vargas trains for Manny, there's nothing that can prepare him for that 'WOW' moment when he steps in the ring with the legendary Pacquiao November 5.

How will Vargas react in the moment? Will he be a ball of nerves? Or will he overcome that obstacle and rise to the occasion?

No matter what Jessie Vargas says, Manny Pacquiao isn't just another opponent for him and Pacquiao vs Vargas won't be just another fight.


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