By Francisco Salazar
The long line that snaked along California Street in the Southern California suburb of South Gate into the Magnifico Gym said it all on Sunday afternoon.
With shirts, posters, gloves, etc., fight fans came out in droves to see unbeaten Brandon Rios hold court inside the cozy gym that is owned by former champion Israel Vazquez.
Rios was more than happy to oblige fight fans with an autograph, a picture, or a hug. One newborn baby was lucky to be held and spoken to by the Oxnard, CA resident, minus the colorful language he is known to speaking.
The “Meet and Greet” was a way for Rios to interact with his fans and to also raise some funds to the Momentum 4 Life charity. Rios and his team has decided to close his training camp in preparation for his 12 round rematch bout against Mike Alvarado at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV on March 30th.
Rios was blown away from the amount of people that showed up to the event.
“It’s great to see a lot of fans recognize what type of fighter you are,” Rios told Boxingscene.com while signing autographs for fans. “It’s great that everybody came to support a good cause in Momentum 4 Life. It’s a great show of support.”
Momentum 4 Life is a pro-active organization group that builds structure and support for adults and children to focus on achieving personal, professional, and athletic goals. Proceeds from raffle sales were donated to the organization.
Among those in attendance with Rios were his trainer Robert Garcia, newly-crowned world featherweight title holder Miguel Angel Garcia, super bantamweight contender Leo Santa Cruz, welterweight contender Josesito Lopez, former world champion and gym owner Israel Vazquez, lightweight contender Ray Beltran, and former featherweight world title holder Steven Luevano.
Although Rios’ focus all day was on his fans, he still left a partying shot at Alvarado for their March 30th fight.
“We’re sticking with the same game plan, only this time I’ll be stronger and I’ll be hitting harder. I’ll be ready.”