By Jake Donovan
In the event that there actually is a fight on April 14 between unbeaten rising stars Brandon Rios and Yuriorkis Gamboa, great news awaits the winner.
“We’re putting up a $100,000 fight bonus, winner takes all for this fight,” Top Rank President Todd deBuof announced to the media on hand for Tuesday’s press conference at the Biltmore Millennium Hotel in Los Angeles. “We’re doing it because this fight deserves something greater. You fans want it, so let’s see how hungry these fighters are to bring this sport back to the principles of boxing.”
Top Rank initially flirted with the idea of a fight bonus – which is currently used in UFC events – to all future opponents for Nonito Donaire to avoid stinkers like the one produced in the non-effort turned in by then-unbeaten 115 lb. titlist Omar Narvaez in their HBO-televised headliner in New York City last October. The plan never quite materialized beyond speculation, though it hardly mattered in the Filipino’s next fight as he was able to get past former titlist Wilfredo Vazquez Jr this past February.
However, the Las Vegas-based promotional outfit felt it was necessary for a fight of this magnitude, though more for symbolic purposes, a way to put the prize back in prizefighting. The buzz surrounding the immediate news of this matchup was that it was a guaranteed Fight of the Year contender, despite a wide variance in predictions.
For the moment, the greatest concern is not who will be the one to collect a bonus, but if there will actually be a fight to offer such a reward.
Gamboa was a no-show at the presser for the second straight day. He surprised everyone on hand at the Miami leg of the press tour by not bothering to attend, instead remaining back in Las Vegas where he is presently working out in Floyd Mayweather’s gym. As recent as this morning, he was on record informing all to not expect him in Los Angeles.
Rios and Top Rank still followed the scheduled itinerary and were on hand to speak. When the subject arose of an extra $100,000 offered for winning the fight, Rios’ eyes lit up like a kid opening presents.
“I like that $100,000 bet,” Rios (29-0-1, 22KO) said in stating the obvious. The unbeaten Californian is coming off of an 11th round knockout of John Murray, but in a fight where he had to concede his title at the scale after missing weight.
He has since enlisted the services of reformed nutritionist Victor Conte in efforts to make the 135 limit. In doing so, the vacant version of the belt he previously held will be at stake in the fight, though Rios seems more fascinated with the thought of a little extra cash in his pocket.
“That’s got my name on it already, right,” Rios jokingly asked. “I’m ready to take it right now.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com .