By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — As previously reported on BoxingScene.com, Brandon Rios will defend his WBA lightweight title on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito undercard Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden.
His opponent hasn’t been chosen, though Puerto Rico’s Roman “Rocky” Martinez (24-1-1, 15 KOs), England’s Kevin Mitchell (32-1, 24 KOs) and John Molina (23-1, 19 KOs), of Covina, Calif., are among those under consideration. Promoter Bob Arum knows, however, exactly who he hopes to match Rios against sometime in 2012.
“I think sometime next year we’ll see Gamboa fight for the lightweight title,” Arum said, “probably against Brandon Rios.”
Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs), whose hand speed and power have made him one of boxing’s most intriguing fighters, expects to move up to junior lightweight or lightweight for his next fight.
The former IBF/WBA featherweight champion cannot comfortably make the 126-pound featherweight limit anymore. He said following an eight-round technical decision win against Daniel Ponce De Leon (41-4, 34 KOs) on Sept. 10 in Atlantic City that he expects to fight at lightweight in 2012.
A title fight against the rugged Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., would probably be the Cuban-born, Miami-based Gamboa’s most attractive option at 135 pounds, assuming Rios can keep his title Dec. 3 and perhaps in another bout before meeting Gamboa.
The Gamboa-Rios fight would be relatively easy to make, too, because both boxers are promoted by Arum’s Top Rank Inc., which tends to match its own fighters whenever possible.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, NJ., and BoxingScene.com.