By Keith Idec
Brandon Rios’ recollection of his last fight against an elite welterweight is that he lost before he even entered the ring to face Timothy Bradley.
The former WBA lightweight champion estimates that he came to training camp for the Bradley bout at approximately 190 pounds, 43 above the contracted limit of 147. That’s no one’s fault but his own, of course, but Rios spent his entire training camp trying to lose a considerable amount of weight and it clearly affected his performance.
He looked lethargic as Bradley beat him up en route to a ninth-round technical knockout victory in November 2015.
“It took me forever to lose the weight,” Rios told BoxingScene.com. “So in that fight, that wasn’t the Brandon Rios that everybody’s used to seeing. My body was just drained. It was horrible.”
Rios realized weight would be an issue while preparing to battle Bradley as soon as he accepted that fight for Bradley’s WBO welterweight title. After taking an embarrassing beating in that fight, Rios announced his retirement.
Reflecting on what went wrong made Rios recognize he would need to come to training camp in some sort of shape if he were to have a chance against championship-caliber opponents.
The 31-year-old Rios applied that costly lesson to training for his fight Saturday night against Danny Garcia. Rios arrived at this training camp two-plus months ago at about 165 pounds.
“After the Mike Alvarado fight [in January 2015], I sat down and didn’t really do sh*t,” Rios said. “Then they came back and told me about the Bradley fight. So, of course, I was gonna jump on it. I wasn’t gonna say no. Of course I said yes. I jumped on it. It was just one of those things that was my fault. As an athlete, as a professional, I should’ve been in the gym and kept the weight off.
“This time, I’ve been doing that. I’ve been treating myself as an athlete and as a professional. I’ve been training. I’m very focused, dedicated in this last part of my career. I’m very focused on getting back to the top and doing what I always said I wanted to do.”
The 12-round welterweight bout between Philadelphia’s Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) and Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs), of Oxnard, California, will headline a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas (10 p.m. ET).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.