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Pacquiao vs Rios | Is Brandon Really THAT Much Taller?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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On November 23rd, fight legend Manny Pacquiao will get a stern test when he faces rising star Brandon Rios in Macau, China. According to BoxRec and most other sources, Manny Pacquiao is listed at 5′ 6½″ (169cm) while Brandon Rios is slated at 5′ 8″ (173cm).

Moreover, Pacquiao's reach is listed 67" (170cm) while Brandon's is 68" (173cm).

Top Rank, the promotional company of both fighters, showcases the same specs.

However, when standing side-by-side and face-to-face, Brandon looks significantly taller than the Filipino fight legend.

The difference in height looks much greater than the advertised 1.5 inches (4 cm).

Who knows where BoxRec, indisputably boxing's best resource for fight facts, gets their figures? Do they get them from a fighter's manager or promoter?

So why is this important anyway?
  • What difference does it make if Brandon is 3 inches taller than listed?
  • And what difference does it make if Brandon's reach is a few inches longer than advertised.
Answer: A lot – Especially at this weight (Welterweight/147 lbs).

When training, fighters in these weight classes not only spar with boxers whose styles and strengths are similar to their opponent's, they look for guys who are similar in height and reach as well.

Pacquiao vs De La Hoya Staredown: Compare the height difference between Manny Pacquiao and the 5′ 10½″ (179 cm) Oscar De La Hoya in the below pic to the difference in height between Manny and the supposedly 5'8" (173 cm) Brandon Rios.


Although pictures can play tricks on our eyes, Rios, in at least 3 photos, appears as tall as the 5′ 10½″ De La Hoya when standing next to Pacquiao.

So if a welterweight prepares to face a fighter who is roughly 5'8" with approximately a 70 inch reach but his opponent is really 5'11" and sports a 73" reach, it may take him awhile to adjust in the bout... If he adjusts properly at all.

During the fight, that opponent may be a little harder to touch than expected. Also, the safe distance he had in sparring may not be so "safe" because his opponent, whose reach is a few inches longer than what he expected, will be be able to land punches at a greater range.

And yes, while networks like HBO and Showtime sometimes measure fighters on the eve of bouts, it's too late by then for a fighter to prepare for an opponent who is taller, shorter or rangier than previously thought.

Pacquiao vs Rios: Although Rios is the fighter moving up in weight, he appears much bigger... or at least significantly taller.

l 4a9e47891be22581f98204fa4504749fPacquiao Rios Shanghai PC 130730 003a
Brandon Rios is seemingly taller and rangier than advertised and this may have greatly benefitted him in bouts where there was little or no interaction with an opponent prior to the fight.

Ruslan Provodnikov
Earlier this summer, Team Pacquiao announced Ruslan Provodnikov would be a sparring partner for Manny. And although there are sylistic similarities between Ruslan and Rios, at 5'6" and with a 66 inch reach, Provodnikov is even smaller than Manny.

Perhaps the decision was made before Pacquiao and Rios got together in person?

Pacquiao vs Rios: Brandon is just 1.5 inches (4cm) taller?

l 2c8e756b7911fe3678d5e8cdf6e08e11Pacquiao Rios Shanghai PC 130730 001a

Brandon Rios told BoxingScene  Pacquiao, in person, was smaller than he expected – But, perhaps, Rios is larger than advertised?

Growth Spurt?
Although most men stop growing between the ages of 17 and 20, it's not uncommon for people, especially men, to experience second growth spurts in their mid 20s.

Brandon is 27 and, ironically, started having problems making weight during his mid 20s.

While some fans criticized him for laziness after he failed to make weight in back-to-back bouts in 2011 and 2012, Rios, arguably one of the hardest working fighters in the sport, may have been victimized by a second growth spurt which attributed to his inability make weight.

Is Brandon taller and longer than what most publications cite? If so, did Team Pacquiao take this into consideration when selecting Brandon as an opponent?

Moreover, has Team Pacquaio made any adjustments in training to better prepare their man for what appears to be a larger-than-imagined  foe?


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