By Francisco Salazar
With less than two weeks before a major fight, some fighters shut down their training camps to the “outside world.”
No interviews. No time spent with family or friends. No public appearances.
While there is nothing wrong with fighters choosing those options, one fighter was more than willing to give his time and a thrill to his diehard or casual fans. Even before what some boxing writers are calling the most anticipated fight of 2012.
Unbeaten Brandon Rios held a “meet and greet” event over the weekend at the KO Studio in Agoura Hills, CA. The event drew hundreds of boxing fans to the gym located in an industrial park, just north of the famed 101 Freeway.
Rios made sure to sign a glove, poster, or flyer for every fan that approached the table where he sat. He gladly accommodated fans with a photo when he was requested to take one.
The event also served, as if it did not already, as publicity to Rios’ highly-anticipated 10 round junior welterweight bout against fellow unbeaten Mike Alvarado.
Fight fans were treated to free food, a performance by musical group RPM-7, and activities for children in attendance.
Although Rios has never been shy in pre-fight interviews to hype an event, he was taken aback by the number of people who showed up, especially on a Sunday afternoon with NFL games being televised.
“I love it, but most importantly I love my fans,” Rios told Boxingscene.com. “It’s great to see how many people turned out. I’m grateful that my fans came out. I love doing this for my fans.”
Nancy Rodriguez, Rios’ publicist who helped coordinate the event, echoed those sentiments.
“I’m amazed to see this turnout. What strikes me is the number of families that turned out for the event. I see a lot of new faces here that you wouldn’t normally see, along with Brandon’s diehard fans.”
Agoura is an affluent suburb located northwest of Los Angeles. The KO Studio is where Rios goes to work with Henry Castro, his strength and conditioning coach.
Also signing autographs and taking pictures with fans was trainer Robert Garcia, featherweight contender Miguel Angel Garcia, former world champions Israel Vazquez and Steven Luevano, and 2012 United States Olympian Joseph Diaz, Jr.