By Keith Idec
Brandon Rios suspected all along that Yuriorkis Gamboa wasn’t all that interested in fighting him.
That’s fine by Rios because it looks like he’s going to get the fight he really wanted if he defeats Richard Abril on April 14 in Las Vegas. Promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com earlier this week that if all goes as planned he intends to match Rios against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez on July 14 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“I’m very excited [about possibly fighting Marquez], but I’ve got to get through Abril first on April 14,” Rios said. “I’ve got a job to do on April 14, get rid of this guy and then move on to [Marquez]. But that’s a fight I would love to do. If he’s willing to do it, I’m willing to do it, too. You know me. I’m always ready.”
Marquez must also beat Ukraine’s Sergey Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) on April 14 in Mexico City for the Rios fight to become a reality. The Fedchenko-Marquez match and the Rios-Abril bout will be part of a split-site, pay-per-view doubleheader that materialized after Cuba’s Gamboa pulled out of his fight against Rios.
Unlike Gamboa, Rios has an enormous amount of respect for the 38-year-old Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs), a three-division champion who’ll fight Fedchenko for the interim WBO junior welterweight title.
“Honestly, I thought he did beat Pacquiao,” Rios said of Marquez’s majority decision defeat to Pacquiao on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. “I gave [Pacquiao] like two rounds. But now, I’m ready for [Marquez]. Maybe the judges saw it a different way, but who cares? Marquez is a great fighter, a great warrior. You can’t say nothing bad about the man.”
Rios realizes fight fans won’t have anything bad to say if they meet, either.
“I think that fight would be a great fight for the fans,” Rios, 25, said. “It’ll be a war. I’ll make the man fight. He’s a great counter-puncher and everything, but I’ll make him fight. It’ll be a great war.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.