By Jake Donovan
After a long and exhausting fight week, Brandon Rios and Diego Chaves looked forward to the one aspect most fighters dread – the official weigh-in.
Friday’s festivities came with a sense of relief, however, given the trials and tribulations endured by Chaves just to ensure there will be a fight this weekend at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Both fighters made the contracted weight for their highly anticipated welterweight clash, which many are tabbing as a can’t miss Fight of the Year contender. Rios tipped the scales at 147 lb., while Chavez–who just arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday after an epic struggle to secure his travel visa–weighed in at 148 lb.
In the co-feature, local boxer Jessie Vargas makes the first defense of his 140 lb. title as he faces Anton Novikov. Both fighters came within the super lightweight division limit; Vargas (24-0, 9KOs) weighed 140 lb. after having to strip down to his birthday suit, while Novikov (29-0, 10KOs) tipped the scales at 139.4 lb. for his first major title fight.
Both fights air live on HBO.
The Rios-Chaves fight was in limbo for much of fight week, as Chaves was one of hundreds of thousands of travelers affected by a computer glitch in the U.S. Immigration courts which caused a massive backlog in processing requests. The Argentine brawler was aided by extraordinary efforts by promoter Bob Arum and Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who delivered the good news on Wednesday.
Chaves (23-1, 19KOs) traveled for 15 hours before arriving in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon, proceeding straight to medical exams before resting up for the day. The fight marks his second since suffering the lone loss of his career, a thrilling 10 th round stoppage at the hands of Keith Thurman last July.
Rios (31-2-1, 23KOs) seeks his first win in nearly two years. The former lightweight titlist has lost two straight, including a 12-round whitewash to Manny Pacquiao in Macau last November. The defeat was doubly damaging, as he tested positive for a banned substance, which resulted in a six-month suspension.
Brandon Rios, 147 lb. vs. Diego Chaves, 148 lb. – 10 rounds, welterweight
Jessie Vargas, 140 lb. vs. Anton Novikov, 139.4 lb. – 12 rounds, super lightweight
Jesse Magdaleno, 123 lb. vs. Carlos Rodriguez, lb. – 8 rounds, super bantamweight
Jose Ramirez, 142.4 vs. Alfredo Romero, 138.2 lb. vs. – 8 rounds, super lightweight
Eddie De Leon, 133.6 lb. vs. Pedro Toledo, 134.4 lb. – 6 rounds, lightweight
Saul Rodriguez, 132.8 lb. vs. Orlando Vazquez, 132.2 lb. – 6 rounds, super featherweight
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America . Twitter: @JakeNDaBox