By Keith Idec
Brandon Rios readily admits he should’ve done this a long time ago.
Had he hired a nutritionist before now, Rios is certain he wouldn’t have lost his WBA lightweight title on the scale Dec. 2 in New York. But what’s done is done and Rios is just trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible from Cecilio Flores about making weight properly.
The 25-year-old Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs) is preparing to make 135 pounds one last time for his April 14 fight against Richard Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs), after which Rios will move up to 140. With barely more than a week left before they’re scheduled to get on the scales in Las Vegas, Rios feels fresher than he has in recent years while shedding those final few pounds.
“The thing [Flores] has been doing for me has been showing me what I need to do to maintain and eat healthy,” said Rios, who will battle Abril for the WBA lightweight title he vacated before beating England’s John Murray on Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden. “The way I was doing it wasn’t healthy. Now I’m doing it healthier. I just feel great right now.”
Flores, who also works with undisputed middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, has Rios eating healthy meals three times per day. During the final three weeks of previous camps, Rios would essentially starve himself by eating just once a day. He often suffered from dehydration, which caught up to Rios when he couldn’t make weight for the Murray fight.
“I feel like a beast,” Rios said. “Eating three times a day just makes me train harder, and I have the power to train.”
In addition to Flores’ presence, Rios feels geography has helped make this training camp much better than camp for his 11th-round technical knockout victory over Murray (31-2, 18 KOs) four months ago. Rios trained in Mexico’s Otomi Mountains, alongside Antonio Margarito, for the Murray fight. But he has returned to his hometown of Oxnard, Calif., for this training camp.
“First of all, I’m at home training,” Rios said. “I train better when I’m home. And second of all, it’s not cold, so I’m sweating more. Third of all, I have a nutritionist. He’s helping me out a lot. When I went to Mexico, I didn’t have a nutritionist.
“Now I have a nutritionist and it just helps me out a lot. Man, I feel great. I’m going to make 135 and show the world that what happened in New York was a fluke and that I’m ready to regain my title and then move up as a champion.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.