By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Former champion Brandon Rios (31-2-1, 23KOs) is pushing hard to get his hands on the WBO junior welterweight beltholder, Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16KOs).
Provodnikov has a tentative return date of June 14th on HBO. The likely opponent being mentioned is former lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (30-3-1, 23KOs), who now fights at 140-pounds. Rios, also slated to return in the month of June, is already in the gym and training for his next return.
Rios believes Provodnikov-DeMarco is a physical mismatch.
"That would be a piece of sh*t fight. Everybody knows that DeMarco has just gone up in weight and that Russian guy is a monster. [Provodnikov] should just fight with somebody who is ready to fight and give it to him too. I think the Russian will win by knockout. But I hope they make it with me, I'm ready for that fight. He called me out on Twitter and I'm ready," Rios told BoxingScene.com.
According to Provodnikov's handlers, they don't believe Rios is capable of making 140-pounds. Last November, Rios moved up to the welterweight division to face Manny Pacquiao. After the fight, he tested positive for a weight-cutting agent.
Rios tells BoxingScene that he's fully confident of making 140. With or without Provodnikov, Rios says he is planning to drop down in weight to 140.
"I can make 140. If I couldn't do it, then I would tell him let's do it at 147, but I can still make 140. I'm going to make 140. I had two fights with Alvarado at 140 and I felt good. I felt 147 was too much for me. I'm not ready for that higher weight class," Rios said.