By Chris Robinson
Sitting at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas as he was moments away from boarding a plane to head back to his adopted home of Miami, Florida, interim WBA lightweight champion Richard Abril was a man with mixed emotions on this Monday afternoon.
On one hand, Abril seemed to take solace in the fact that he had performed up to his expectations on Saturday night in his bout with former lightweight champion Brandon Rios at the Mandalay Bay. For twelve slow-paced rounds, Abril confused the aggressive Rios with a boxing style that was mixed with counterpunching as well as some excessive holding.
Scorecards of 116-112 and 115-113 were read in Rios’ favor, with a 117-111 tally going towards Abril. Several people seemed to feel that Abril was robbed of a deserved victory and it was easy to spot the dismay in his voice as he reflected on the fight.
“I believe it wasn’t a fair decision,” Abril would state through my translator Margarita ‘Maggie’ Quinonez. “I went with my fight plan and I believe I won the fight and I believe the judges didn’t do their job properly. I feel that Brandon is a good boxer, but the style I have as a fighter is very hard to figure. I believe he never figured out my style. Brandon didn’t fight me the way he wanted to.”
Shortly after the fight, BoxingScene.com’s Ryan Burton caught up with Abril’s trainer Osmiri Fernandez, who showed interest in bouts with WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco and unbeaten contender Mercito Gesta, who broke down Columbia’s Oscar Cuero for an 8th round TKO on Saturday night’s undercard.
And while Abril was quick to suggest that he was open to facing anyone and that his priority was to land a fight that would push him up the organization rankings, he did admit that a fight with Gesta was intriguing on some fronts. But as far as worrying about the southpaw stance or sharp-punching of the Mandaue City, Philippines native, Abril didn’t seem too intimidated.
“I don’t worry about that,” Abril said sharply. “Because that’s the same thing they said about [Brandon Rios] and I fought him all the way. No matter what the judges say, I’m sure I won the fight. For me, there’s no worries. Because when I’m in the ring, I go to win all day and all night. I’m going to do what I have to do in order to win.”
As for Rios, he is still in play for a possible July 14th date against revered Mexico City native Juan Manuel Marquez, who pulled out a clear twelve-round decision in his hometown over Sergey Fedchenko as part of Saturday’s split-site pay-per-view telecast.
I had expected Abril to downplay Rios’ chances in such a fight but he offered up a surprising response.
“That’s going to be an awesome fight, because Juan Manuel is a legend and he’s a warrior," said Abril. "And Brandon Rios is a warrior. That would be a very good fight because both of them are fighters who go back and forth, hitting each other. But that’s the difference between me and Juan Manuel Marquez. I don’t play Brandon Rios’ game. I made Brandon Rios go into my game. If Juan Manuel Marquez goes into Brandon Rios’ game, the stronger one is the one who’s going to win. I don’t know who could win, but I believe that’s going to be a very tough fight for both of them.”
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