MACAU – Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao made a successful comeback to the ring with an overwhelming points victory over Brandon Rios to win the World Boxing Organization International welterweight championship in Macau on Sunday.
The three ringside judges scored the fight 120-108, 119-109 and 118-110 as Pacquiao handed out a lesson in clinical boxing to his less-experienced American opponent.
The Filipino great, who had lost his last two fights, took the 12-round contest to Rios from the first bell, connecting with lightning combinations to the body and head.
Rios was on the canvas following a body shot in the first round, but the referee ruled no knockdown because the former lightweight world champion had slipped.
Rios proved durable, but Pacquiao gave him an all-over workout and a boxing lesson in the American’s debut at welterweight.
Pacquiao, a congressman in the Philippines, which was recently ravaged by Super Typhoon Haiyan, was understandably emotional afterwards.
“This is not about my comeback,” he said in the ring immediately after the verdict.
“This is about my people’s comeback from a natural disaster and a natural tragedy.”
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach had said he would tell his charge to retire should he lose to Rios.
Now Pacquiao will look for a potential rematch with Mexican arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez, who knocked “Pac-Man” out in their fourth meeting last December.
“I’m so happy,” added Pacquiao. “Because my time is not over.”