Interim and former WBO World welterweight and former WBC/WBO World super lightweight champion Timothy Bradley (32-1-1 12 KO) will knuckleup with former WBA world lightweight titlist Brandon Rios (33-2-1 24 KO) this Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas live on HBO.
Rios will have about a two inch height advantage and Bradley a small reach advantage.
Bradley enters 1-1-1 in his last three; however his draw should have been a win. His last fight was a unanimous decision in June against Jessie Vargas; however not without a little drama.
Rios is 2-1 in his last three; however, one of his wins was a DQ. Rios was last in the office in January when he stopped Mike Alvarado in three.
Common opponents may provide a bit of clarity-
Speed way too much for Rios while losing a close fight with Bradley that he most likely won and then in the rematch clearly outclassing Bradley.
Gave Rios problems in a foul filled fest that the referee let get way out of control leading to the DQ. Split draw with Bradley in a bout Chaves clearly lost.
Lessons Learned Heading In-
Rios- In his last bout in January, Rios looked better than he had in years; however, how much was due to an opponent in Mike Alvarado who was battling addiction problems and had no business being in the ring? (See Standing-8 interview with Mike Alvarado)
Prior to Alvarado, Rios looked less than impressive against Chaves. He was plodding in his execution and looked to have lost his explosiveness.
Bradley- In his last bout in June, Bradley was comfortably winning an entertaining fight against Vargas; however, he was rocked in the twelfth round. The referee jumped in thinking he heard the bell which was actually the ten second indicator. Vargas thought the referee was stopping the fight and all chaos ensued.
What Does It All Mean?
Rios has the pop to repeat what Vargas did early and often; however it was clear in the Pacquiao and Chaves fight that Rios’ lateral movement and speed was diminished. He looked like he was reborn against Alvarado but again, Alvarado was a shell of himself due to his life outside of the ring. Take nothing away from Rios, it’s just hard to gauge exactly who the real Bam Bam is.
Bradley seems to be in a war every time he is in the ring. Quite frankly he makes his fights harder than they have to be. His fights are rough and tough and in Rios he will find a willing dance partner.
The deciding factor here is speed. Bradley should be able to make this a very easy fight with his speed and boxing ability. It will be interesting to see what a new trainer in Teddy Atlas will bring. If Teddy controls Bradley’s aggressiveness, has him box and then explode when the openings are there, this will be a one sided fight.
If Bradley fights similarly to what he has done in the past which is his version of rock em sock em robots, Rios will have plenty of chances. While Desert Storm has shown a great beard, he has shown glimpses of vulnerability at times; however with great recovery powers.
Bradley by unanimous decision in an entertaining fight.
One caveat- If the fight is close, Bradley will not get the benefit of the doubt this time.