By Jake Donovan
Brandon Rios was enjoying the best year of his career until 2011 until he fell prey to the scale. His failure to make weight for last December’s showdown with John Murray cost him a lightweight belt as well as consideration for the Fighter of the Year race.
The unbeaten Californian still went on to win his bout, stopping Murray in 11 rounds for his third win of the year, all inside the distance.
However, it wasn’t the knockout trend that continued in his last bout, but his struggles at the scales. Rios failed to make weight for his vacant title fight with Richard Abril, a fight that saw the 26-year old escape with a controversial split decision win this past April.
Regardless of anyone’s take on the outcome, one indisputable topic is where Rios belongs – or more importantly, where he no longer belonged. The evening marked his last ever scheduled bout as a lightweight, as he quickly declared his intentions to move up in weight.
That decision leads him to his highly anticipated October 13 showdown with Mike Alvarado, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The HBO-televised co-feature bout will mark his first official fight in the 140 lb. division, a weight class he considers his true home.
“This is one of the best training camp since I fought (Anthony) Peterson,” Rios (30-0-1, 22KO) insists. I’m ready to show the world and everyone what I can do at 140 now. (The) 135 (lb. division) was good for me, but now I’m ready for 140.”
A considerable amount of attention was paid to Rios’ failing to make weight in two straights fights.
It was well documented prior to the fight with Murray that he was drained to the point of bordering on delusion during fight week. However, the sales pitch from his handlers of his being happy and healthy leading up to the Abril fight fell on deaf ears once he hit the scales – not just missing weight, but coming back heavier on his follow-up attempt.
The letdown at the scales and controversial nature of the twelve rounds which followed led to more negative feedback than had normally been attributed to the career of the all-action slugger. Still, he doesn’t believe any more apologies in order, as the road traveled was not intentionally mapped out.
“I didn’t let my fans down, I don’t think nothing like that,” Rios believes. “If you see the videos, I tried to make weight. I was pale. Those last two fights, I told my people I had a feeling I wouldn’t (make weight). I struggled as it got closer.”
Regardless of what took place in the past, there is no time like the present as far as most boxing fans are concerned. All it takes is a win – or a hell of an effort to do so – in order to land back in the good graces of the viewing public.
That’s one area where Rios happens to excel – and it will be his pleasure to prove his detractors wrong, win or lose on October 13.
“Hates, keep hating. I’m going out there to make a statement. I’m going for a knockout.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox