Pacoquiao rises again

Pacoquiao rises again
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates his victory over Brandon Rios.

Manny Pacquiao was late.

Very, very late.

It turned out he was two urine samples late, when he bounded into the vast ballroom here at the Venetian Macau almost two hours after he had won his welterweight fight against Brandon Rios with a dominating performance Sunday at the Cotai Arena.

The 34-year-old apologised, simply saying, "I had to pee."

The deeply religious boxing champion thanked God and looked pretty pleased after 11 months out of the ring.

He had every reason to be.

Pacquiao was slick in front of a near-partisan, sellout crowd of 13,200, unleashing combinations that repeatedly pockmarked Rios' face, unerringly bobbing and weaving out of the way of the American's swing for most of the 12 rounds.

The message after the fight was that Pacquiao was back, after two successive losses that had many talking retirement.

Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach wanted to show that the savage knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez last December in Las Vegas was all but forgotten.

The name Floyd Mayweather Jr was thrown up repeatedly Sunday because boxing fans are desperate to see the two settle the argument over who is the better fighter.

But Marquez has been the man that haunted Pacquiao all this time, ever since that booming right hand in the final second of the sixth round knocked the Philippine hero unconscious for a frightening minute.

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