Brandon Rios ready to take next step in career trajectory
As always, Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios is confident and outspoken leading into a fight. The 25-year-old Mexican-American fighter is as brash as he is talented. After accumulating a 29-0-1 record in his first 30 fights with 22 KOs, Rios is firmly established as a rising star in the sport.
On Saturday, he takes on Richard Abril on HBO pay-per-view (9 p.m. ET) for the vacant WBA lightweight title. It was vacated by Rios, who failed to make weight for his last fight, an 11th-round TKO victory over John Murray. This time around, Rios is ready to take back what's his.
"Training camp has been great," Rios said. "It's been one of the best camps so far. I learned from the mistake, from what happened in New York. I was dieting, but I did not do it right. It [was tough], but I'm a warrior and I want to show everybody what happened was a fluke and show everybody I'm ready to move on."
This date was originally planned for something of a super fight, pitting Rios against Cuban star Yuriorkis Gamboa, but the fight was canceled after Gamboa was a no-show to pre-fight press conferences. Rios, after some choice words for Gamboa, moved on to the next and says the shortened time to prepare for Abril is not an issue.
"I love to fight. I love my job," Rios said. "It doesn't bother me. As long as they show up, that's who I'm ready for. It could be Gamboa, I don't [care]. It could be Mike Tyson or (Oscar) De La Hoya, I'm just ready to show the world and ready to be exciting."
Since he failed to make weight the last fight, the thought has been that Rios will move up to the 140-pound weight class after this, possibly headed for a clash with Juan Manuel Marquez, who is on the pay-per-view card with Rios on Saturday. While that is possible, Rios believes he could also stay at 135 and says anything is possible with the outstanding people he has in his corner.
"You know what? We've been talking about [moving up]. This could be my last fight at 135," Rios said. "I figured, if I'm going to move up, I want to be a champion just in case. It's all up to Cameron Dunkin, my manager and the best in the business, but this camp, everything has been great. [My trainer] Robert Garcia has been doing his job as usual, my nutritionist has been doing a great job, my strength and conditioning coach, but Robert has been doing great as usual. That's the main factor."
Rios is a fighter. His 22 knockouts and brawling style are proof enough of that. Line them up and he'll knock them down — that's the attitude. As a result, he says he doesn't look too far ahead, at what may be next for him as he continues to move toward the top of the sport.
"My personal goal is just to keep fighting," Rios said. "It took years to get where I'm at. I'm not in a rush. I'm always going to be ready to fight and whatever Cameron, Robert and Bob decides, that's what I'll do. Right now, I'll keep my feet on the ground and keep waiting."