by Rick Reeno
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas - Before a crowd of 3,705, Brandon Rios (30-0-1, 22KOs) won a twelve round split decision over Richard Abril (17-3-1, 8KOs). Many at ringside had scored the fight for Abril, but he made a very ugly fight. The scores were 117-111 Abril, 115-112 for Rios and 115-113 for Rios.
Things got ugly after the fight, Abril and his team went wild over the split decision loss and believe they were robbed of a title win. Because Rios failed to make weight on Friday, he was unable to capture the vacant WBA lightweight title.
Abril started the fight by moving, keeping his distance and landing straight punches to the head and body. Rios was applying a lot of pressure early. Rios landed a good right hand in the final minute to send Abril back.
Rios was chasing Abril down in the second, but catching some leather while charging in. The pressure was causing a lot of issues for Abril in the third. He was holding often to keep Rios from landing too many power punches.
In the fourth, Abril was landing good punches, but not enough of them to make a dent. Rios continued to come forward and throw, with many of his punches being blocked or smothered by staying so close to Abril.
The story of the fight was the same in rounds five through twelve. Rios was trying to make it a fight, but staying too close to Abril, who either held him on the inside or caught Rios coming in. Rios failed to work his way in and made the mistake of charging in reckless, which opened the door for Abril to land.