Tim Bradley vs. Brandon Rios still possible for December
By Chris Williams: Last Friday the World Boxing Organization ordered newly crowned WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley to start negotiations with WBO No.1 contender Sadam Ali for a fight that would take place before the end of the year. However, Bradley’s promoters at Top Rank are interested in matching Bradley against the highly popular former WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios for a fight that they’d like to take place in December, according to Dan Rafael.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is likely to sit down with Ali’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions to discuss a step aside deal for Ali to step aside for a certain amount of money.
HBO is interested in televising the Bradley vs. Rios fight because it’s a fight that would likely bring in good ratings for their network because both guys have fought Manny Pacquiao in the past, and this has increased their popularity well and above what it normally would be given their limited talent.
Neither of these guys is considered to be among the top four in the welterweight division in the minds of a lot of boxing fans. Fans see Mayweather, Pacquiao, Keith Thurman and Kell Brook as the top four. Rios and Bradley might not even make the top five, because Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Amir Khan would give Rios and Bradley a great deal of problems.
“We’ll listen to what Top Rank has to say, of course,” said De La Hoya via Dan Rafael of ESPN.com. “I just need to talk to Bob (Arum) and see what they have in mind and see if it makes sense for Sadam Ali and for Golden Boy Promotions.”
The step aside payment would have to be worthwhile for Golden Boy and Ali for it to be worthwhile. It’s a better situation for Ali to take the fight with Bradley straightaway because Bradley is arguably the more popular fighter between him and Rios. If Ali can get a fight against Bradley, it would be a bigger deal than if he were to fight Rios.
Bradley’s fighting style is also more suited towards Ali’s style of fighting. Bradley might not get past Rios, because we saw how Bradley folded in the second half of his fight against pressure fighter Diego Chaves last year. Bradley was worn out from the combination of Chaves’ pressure and hard power shots. Rios is capable of doing the same thing that Chaves was, but without the power that he has. Rios doesn’t hit as hard as Chaves and he’s slightly slower.
(“Bradley-Rios is) a fight we want to make,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com.
Bradley won his last fight in beating Top Rank stable fighter Jessie Vargas by a 12 round unanimous decision last June. It was a fight that didn’t make sense to begin with because Vargas was allowed to move up from the light welterweight division to take the fight without fighting anyone at welterweight first.
The WBO gave Vargas a top 10 ranking and he then fought Bradley for the WBO title in a fight that was totally one-sided until the last minute of the 12th round. Vargas hurt Bradley with a right hand and then the referee Pat Russell stopped the fight prematurely after he said he thought he heard the final bell ring. The fight was stopped with less than 10 seconds left. The fight was about as controversial as Rios’s past wins over Diego Chaves and Richard Abril.
Rios hasn’t fought since January of this year in beating a faded Mike Alvarado by a 3d round stoppage in their trilogy fight. Rios doesn’t have much to show for 2015 if all he’s going to get is two fights. Rios is being matched like he’s a world champion rather than a fighter wanting to keep his career alive after saving his career in his last fight against Alvarado.
It’ll be interesting if Top Rank only matches Rios twice in 2016 as well. That’s pretty sad for Rios. If they give him another Manny Pacquiao fight then you can it’s no big deal for him to be sitting around all this time, but if all they’re going to do is put him in with Bradley and Alvarado, then he’s wasting his time.
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