Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
It is with a twist of irony that WBA World Lightweight champion Brandon Rios, who – prior to winning his title – was known to call out the division’s elite, yet is now on the receiving end of fighters wanting to box him. However, Humberto Soto, who Rios is desperate to fight, is “making excuses” to not share a ring, according to ‘Bam Bam’.
|ON THE BEAK’s TOP TEN LIGHTWEIGHTS
|1 – Juan Manuel Marquez
|2 – Brandon Rios
|3 – Humberto Soto
|4 – Robert Guerrero
|5 – Miguel Acosta
|6 – Michael Katsidis
|7 – Urbano Antillon
|8 – John Murray
|9 – Miguel Vazquez
|10 – Paulus Moses||NAMIBIA|
A tentative date of July 9 has been scheduled for Rios’ next fight. Whomever he is matched with, there is little doubt that the come-forward brawler will be ready.
Since defeating Miguel Acosta in February, at the Palms Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, USA, and being awarded his first world title, Rios has continued to train at Robert Garcia’s Oxnard boxing gym, pounding the heavy bag, working the pads and maintaining his sterling physique.
The victory against boxer-mover Acosta surprised multiple boxing publications – including On The Beak – who believed the Venezuelan’s technical skills would outweigh Rios’ perceived one-dimensional style. ‘Bam Bam’ was indeed troubled at the beginning of the fight, yet by the mid-to-late rounds his brute strength overpowered Acosta (for round by round summary click here).
Rios is eager to get back into the ring and there are a plethora of viable fights for the Mexican-American, including: undefeated Briton John Murray, IBF titlist Miguel Vazquez and ring legend Marco Antonio Barrera.
“Marco Antonio Barrera has experience; he has a big name,” Rios said on Seconds Out regarding a potential tear-up. “My job is to train and to fight. If that is who they want to pick, if they think that is a good move for my career to get to the next level, then I go with it. I don’t go against what Robert [Garcia] and my manager, Cameron Dunkin, say.”
Juan Manuel Marquez remains the marquee name in the 135lb weight class, yet his pursuit of Manny Pacquiao for a third and conclusive fight means he may be off-limits for the time being. Rios’ stock has risen considerably since picking up the WBA crown and he himself has been the recipient of being called out.
“I have been calling out Marquez. I have been calling out [Humberto] Soto,” said Rios. “To me, it is getting the best fights and fighting the best. I would love to unify the titles.
“There are a lot of guys at 135 that are calling me out. Hank Lundy, John Murray from England, Miguel Vasquez wants a piece of me; Barrera wants a piece of me. The only guy who doesn’t want a piece of me is Soto. I want a piece of him but he keeps making excuses. Now I hear he is going to 140 after this fight. It’s like, ‘C’mon, I want unify my title with his title.’ I want the best.
“My manager and Robert know what I can do. They know what I want and know what I can do. I am ready for anybody. Our plan is to get maybe three more fights at 135 and then move to 140. That’s the plan. I can do 140. I am a big 135. I can make 135 but I can go to 140 and still be strong. Maybe you will see me at 140 this year and we will see what happens.”
J.G Barrington – New York
WBA World Lightweight title: Brandon Rios – 10th Rd TKO – Miguel Acosta
Notes – Challenger Brandon Rios started sluggish but emerged victorious, securing a tenth round technical knockout over former champion Miguel Acosta. Rios downed Acosta three times. It was Acosta’s first defence of his WBA World Lightweight belt and ultimately proved unsuccessful.
WBO World Flyweight title: Julio Cesar Miranda – 4th Rd TKO – Arden Diale
Notes – Miranda rose from the deck in the first round to drop Diale twice; once in the third and again in the fourth round. It was the Mexican’s second defence of the WBO crown.
WBC World Light Flyweight title: Gilberto Keb Baas – 8th Rd RTD – Jose Antonio Aguirre
Notes – Baas inflicted a tenth defeat on Aguirre.
EBU [European] Super Featherweight title: Ermano Fergatilli – UD – Stephen Foster
Notes – Crowd favourite Foster lost a unanimous decision to challenger Fergatilli. The Belgium boxer commands a poor knockout ratio but boxed well enough to take the European title away from Lancashire, UK.
WBO Female Super Bantamweight title: Ana Julaton – UD – Franchescha Alcanter [98-92, 97-93, 96-94]
Notes – Julaton triumphed in a ten round contest.
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Brandon Rios and Miguel Acosta produced a barnburner for an enthralled Las Vegas crowd as Acosta, in his first defence of his WBA World Lightweight title, relinquished his belt to tough brawler Rios due to a tenth round teekayo. Acosta started well yet it was Rios who got stronger as the fight grew on and scored three knockdowns; in the sixth, eighth and tenth round.
Acosta, in his two biggest fights, defeated Urbano Antillon and Paulus Moses, fighters who held respective 26-0-0 and 25-0-0 records. Prior to the tear-up with challenger Brandon Rios, Acosta again found himself the underdog yet the erstwhile champion was unable to upset the odds once again.
Round By Round Analysis
Round One: The fight started as On The Beak predicted in our analytical preview, with Acosta using lateral movement and Rios controlling the centre of the ring. Acosta fell to the canvas within the opening 30 seconds but it was correctly ruled a slip by referee Joe Cortez. Rios looked to get forward and was clinical with his shots, however, he appeared perturbed at both the hand-speed and the power of Acosta. Rios, with his street-fighting style, often attempted to get Acosta to engage but the champion’s patience and discipline ensured he stuck to his own gameplan by landing his trademark overhead right-hand punches. Late on in the round, Cortez warned Acosta for punching to the back of the head.
Round Two: Rios maintained a high guard in the second stanza while Acosta relied on his foot movement to stay away from Rios’ flurries. As the round settled, Acosta looked to double jab the contender before Rios eventually backed Acosta into a corner. Rios managed to lay traps for Acosta, successfully cutting off the full space of the ring that Acosta had aimed to exploit. Despite being on the back-foot, Acosta still landed occasional combinations, as well as the uppercut that eventually floored former opponent Antillon. Competitive round.
Round Three: Acosta, again, unleashed his uppercut yet Rios – six minutes into his debut championship fight – seemed settled and was standing up to the champion. Both men were expending great energy with their punches as their blows were relentlessly heavy. If Acosta wanted to negate Rios’ come-forward style, it was suggested by On The Beak that he may want to clinch or tie-up, and this was a tactic that began to emerge in this round. Rios pressured Acosta into a corner, launching a lot of punches (not all of them connecting) but Acosta appeared to tag the challenger, clipping him on the back of the head when Rios ducked (this could have been accidental) before again landing another to the head. Rios replied with a smile… often a sign that pain had been felt.
Round Four: While Rios was enjoying the centre of the ring in the first nine minutes, round four saw Acosta force Rios into retreat by landing a succession of weighty jabs, doubled up with powerful rights. The belt-holder had a jig in his step, perhaps buoyed by the previous stanza, and was landing at will. Rios replied by targetting the body which could have been an effort to slow Acosta down by taking the wind out of his lungs. Another great round, but another in favour of Acosta.
Round Five: The fifth stanza started ugly, with a clinch spoiling any chance of an engaging session. Cortez, to his credit, was quick to pull the fighters apart. Acosta fought awkwardly… when Rios found success to the body, Acosta would reply swiftly; unleashing a wide variety of punches from his boxing arsenal. Rios managed to back Acosta onto the turnbuckle yet this seemed to work against him as Acosta landed a fierce head-shot. Rios connected to Acosta’s body yet the better work – again – was from Acosta.
Round Six: Both fighters refused to let go of the all-action tag that this bout will inevitably leave with fight fans as Rios and Acosta went toe-to-toe. Rios turned the tables and thrilled crowd as he scored a great knockdown. Rios landed a left to the body, followed by a left to the face yet it was a jab to the chin that sent the champ to the deck. A stunned Acosta got off the canvas yet remained on his knee until late in the count. Back on his feet he still appeared dazed and worked the space of the ring in order to back away from Rios. The challenger though was intent on causing further damage to Acosta, landing to the chest, the jaw and a cut appeared under the right eye of Acosta.
Round Seven: Following the minute’s break Acosta managed to regain his composure following the knockdown. Rios was back in control of the centre of the ring and, like the first round, Acosta bounced around Rios in circles. Rios landed to the face but Acosta reverted to the original tentative gameplan of boxing and moving; slipping Rios’ punches while evading the challenger’s invitations to brawl.
Round Eight: Rios’ high guard, protecting his face with two vertical arms, blocked a one-two from Acosta. His jab looked noticeably weaker than it had in the opening rounds and may at this stage instead have been employed as a measuring tool. Rios, conversely, still had a lot of gas in his tank. Acosta landed a strong hook to the face yet the teak-tough Rios maintained his pressure. Acosta secured the ten score in the past round due to his boxing skill but Rios’ pressure work will gain him the ten this time round. ‘Bam Bam’ Rios, with just under a minute left on the clock, again knocked Acosta to the ground due to a barrage of left hooks while dominating Acosta against the corner. The champion appeared genuinely hurt and worried at being on the floor for the second time of the fight (and only the fifth time in his career). Due to Acosta’s good work in the stanza, though, he gets a nine, rather than an eight because of the knockdown.
Round Nine: Acosta found himself on the floor but Cortez ruled it as a slip. Rios’ defence improved considerably since the opening bell. His work to the face of the champion aggravated the cut around the eye and it was the head-shots that secured the knockdowns while his work to Acosta’s body is what fatigued the champion and weakened the legs. Rios’ engaging attack wore Acosta down who, like a champion, returned the blows – refusing to give up – but Rios has dominated the middle rounds and, in so doing, evened up the scores.
Round Ten: Acosta’s accuracy diminished somewhat as a head-high combination hits nothing but air. Acosta, 32, is the noticeably tired fighter yet landed a strong right to the face of Rios. Rios though pummeled Acosta and, as soon as the champion was again in the corner, the challenger tried to connect with a volley of power shots. Rios got Acosta on the ground for the third time in the fight as the fallen belt-holder stooped to a knee… his corner and Cortez called a halt to the fight. A new champion was crowned.
Alan Dawson – London
Two of the top talents at 135lbs, WBA World Lightweight champion Miguel Acosta and contender Brandon Rios, will box in a 12-round contest at Palms Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas on Saturday February 26.
Both fighters have shown signs of promise during their respective careers and have fought against strong opposition, however, they are yet to receive the fame and recognition that comes with a mainstream career-defining fight.
The victor of Saturday night’s duel, though, will be the recipient of not only WBA supremacy but also further appeal… a heightening of their fan-base that could well see them pitted against no.1 ranked and future hall-of-famer Juan Manuel Marquez in a 3-belt unification bout, or a 2-belt unification fight versus Humberto Soto.
Tale Of The Tape
|Miguel Acosta (Champion)||Brandon Rios (Challenger)|
|Height/Reach||5’8.5 / Unlisted||5’9 / 70′|
|Record||28-3-2, 22ko||26-0-1, 17ko|
Controversial kid Rios courts drama. Whether he’s being filmed mocking legendary trainer Freddie Roach’s battle against Parkinson’s disease or labelling former stablemate and contemporary adversary Victor Ortiz a “retard” and Oscar De La Hoya his “pimp” (according to Boxing Scene), the Texas-born Mexican has a chance to have positive headlines written about him this weekend as he prepares for his first ever world-title shot.
Acosta, from Caracas, Venezuala, not only possesses a different fight style, but also does not attract the press that a world-champion would commonly be able to command. He is largely unheralded and only came into the limelight after defeating Urbano Antillon by way of 9th round kayo in 2009; a fight in which he carried the underdog tag.
It is easy to claim this bout is the classic brawler (Rios) versus boxer (Acosta). The former is a come-forward fighter who likes to fight on the inside and is not averse to engaging his opponent, while the latter appears more confident boxing on the outside where he’ll throw punches and move. This assessment, however, overlooks their respective pasts.
Rios has amassed a solid professional record yet it is his amateur pedigree that is most meritorious (230-35). As a U.S National Amateur champion at Featherweight, as well as an alternate for the United States Olympic committee in 2004, Rios had a varied weaponry within his boxing arsenal to call upon. He wasn’t “just” a brawler in the amateur ranks and could often display a sterling boxing I.Q, yet it is his ability to fight on the inside where he has found success as a pro.
Likewise, even though Acosta is most known for his ability to slip punches, boxing from the outside and using the full space of the ring to his advantage, it was not always his preferred style of fighting. When his pro career was fledgling, he was more of a slugger. Aside from two draws in his first two fights he went on to accumulate multiple knockout victories prior to a run of three successive defeats. Those losses sparked a shift in boxing ideology for Acosta and he developed a more cultured style.
The Las Vegas fracas presents both men with their toughest test to date.
During the pre-fight press conference, Acosta, who makes his debut in Sin City, said: “To be here [Las Vegas] is a dream and many people will be seeing me [fight] for the first time. I’m coming to demonstrate that I can be the best Lightweight in the world.
“This is the toughest challenge but I am ready for it and will pass this challenge.” He confidently continued: “I want to fight the best Lightweights in the world and this is the first test of that mentality. There will be more to come and I know I’ll come back to make my second defence in Las Vegas.”
Similarly, Rios respected the calibre of opponent that he’ll face, yet also expressed belief that it will be he whose arm the referee will be holding aloft as the winner. He said: “On paper he [Acosta] looks like my toughest fight. I take this fight more seriously than others as he is champion. Acosta is no joke. He is strong but he’s just another guy. He’s human and nothing that I cannot handle.”
In an attempt to neutralise the threat Acosta poses, Rios’ trainer – Robert Garcia, who recently masterminded Nonito Donaire’s triumph over Fernando Montiel – employed Victor Cayo as a sparring partner for Rios. Cayo, Rios’ camp felt, naturally mirrored Acosta’s style and, as a Super Lightweight, could muster more power in his shots than if Rios had been sparring against a natural Lightweight. This may prove a shrewd tactic for Rios as Acosta is deceptively powerful.
Rios has a sturdy chin and, if he’s been sparring against bigger men (even middleweights had been called into Garcia’s gym in Oxnard), then he could be suitably prepared for Acosta’s power shots. Furthermore, during his winning display against Anthony Peterson, he showed heart. Rios was repeatedly boxed in the bollocks. Peterson was warned for the low blows but continued with the illegal fouls until eventually being disqualified. Undeterred by each punch in the nuts, Rios recovered to continue dominating Peterson.
Rios may well need to stay disciplined if he is to avoid getting tagged by Acosta and this is not something that is evident in his modern record. From the opening bell he likes to pressure his opponent and Rios claims the upcoming fight will be no different: “You’re going to see me putting on the pressure and you’re going to see Acosta running.”
This would suit Acosta who is no stranger to Rios’ style as demonstrated by his teekayo win over Urbano Antillon in 2009. Antillon fought on the inside while Acosta evaded his shots and returned his own blows. Despite multiple warnings from the referee, Acosta also began to hold onto Antillon which frustrated and interrupted the then-undefeated Californian. It was an uppercut that decked Antillon in the 9th. He rose to his feet within one second of the ten count but the fight was halted… Antillon was deemed in no fit state to continue.
During the early stages of the contest Rios will likely gain the ten scores on the ring-side judges cards due to his desire to take the fight to Acosta, yet the veteran champion will likely use his ring experience, his ability to be an illusive target as well as his own punch power to attract the greater scores as he traditionally grows in dominance as the fight reaches the middle and late rounds.
Acosta to win by way of majority decision.