“I fucking love this shit!!”, the classic response uttered by “Bam Bam” Brandon Rios after being chastised by trainer Robert Garcia for receiving what Garcia felt was unneeded punishment against Mike Alvarado. Yes, that is Bam Bam, the throwback, energetic, and charismatic brawler fighting out of Oxnard, California by way of Lubbock, Texas. He loves to fight. He doesn’t particularly care for opponents who wish to box, no, Rios 31-2-1 (23KO) wants to bang. He will get his chance once again this Saturday night in Las Vegas against another brawler in Argentine Diego Chaves 23-1 (19KO) in a ten round welterweight clash.
This will be Rios’s first fight after an eight month layoff which included a five month suspension for testing positive for a banned substance after his last fight against Manny Pacquiao. Rios will be entering this fight with two consecutive losses, the only losses of his career, one each to the aforementioned Pacquiao and Alvarado. Rios was actually winning the Alvarado rematch until Alvarado switched from brawler to boxer. It is at those moments, when Rios’s opponents wish to box him that the fight starts to slip away, Rios’s warrior spirit longs for the violent encounter not the sweetness of the game. You figured that his brawling style would have had a chance in the fight against Pacquiao but he was thoroughly out boxed. Back in the ring for the first time since being put to sleep by Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao chose to engage less and box more. The brawling type fight that Rios covets eluded him once again.
Enter Chaves, a hard punching brawler in his own right who has only let three out of his twenty-four fights go to the scorecards. Chaves, a solid amateur, has only lost once as a pro and that was to Keith Thurman. In the fight against Thurman, he gave a solid account of himself and has arguably given Thurman his toughest test to date even surprising him at times with his punching power. Although a brawler by nature, Chaves is fast and has shown excellent movement in recent fights, a combination that could once again spell trouble for Rios if Chaves opts for that approach. Rios can box when he wants but can he tame the warrior spirit long enough to do so?
Rios is at a crossroads in his career; a third loss in a row would be a major setback. He needs this fight badly to resurrect his career. This time he will get to face an opponent that is less likely to box him and give him what he wants; a back alley brawl.This is when Rios is at his best, however; don’t be surprised if Rios uses his underrated speed and skills to box a little more in this one if needed. Get your mute button ready, when Rios returns to his corner Saturday night its NC-17.
Welcome back champ.