By Tim Fletcher: There’s a lot of questions about whether #3 WBO Brandon Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) has the talent or not to defeat WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) on November 7th in their fight on HBO Championship Boxing from the Thomas & Mack Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bradley is now with trainer Teddy Atlas, and he’s the type of trainer that believes in having his fighters play to their strengths’ rather than to their weaknesses. Atlas almost surely going to insist in a very forceful manner that Bradley focuses on boxing Rios and not standing in front of him and going toe-to-toe.
Rios understands what Atlas is going to be telling Bradley how to fight, but he still doesn’t think Bradley is going to be able to keep him off of him. Rios says he’s going to cut off the ring and force Bradley to fight. He doesn’t think that Bradley will be able to run for a full 12 round fight without getting caught over and over again much like how Bradley kept getting caught by Ruslan Provodnikov in their fight in 2013.
“I feel like I got suspended twice, and I didn’t even get suspended,” Rios said to thaboxingvoice about being out of the ring since January. “Nah, I’ll be ready [for Bradley fight]. He’s going to try and box, but does he have the power to keep me off. That’s a big negative. If I keep putting that pressure, he’s going to go back to what he loves to do. He loves to fight. Forget what his trainer [Teddy Atlas] is going to say, he’s going to fight,” Rios said.
The Bradley-Rios fight comes down to this: If Rios can move like he did in beating Mike Alvarado last January, then it’s going to be impossible for Bradley to run from Rios for a full 12 round fight without getting caught up in a war in every round. Bradley has the faster hands, but Rios is going to be picking him off with big power shots while he’s on the move.
If Bradley uses the clinching and moving that he used to beat Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013, it’s going to make it harder for Rios. He’ll have to find a way to fight through the clinching rather than waiting for the referee to break them each time.
Diego Chaves used a lot of clinching in his fight against Rios last year to negate his pressure. It worked pretty well for Rios because the only thing he did was push his head into the face of Chaves to try and keep him from holding.
It didn’t work. Chaves continued to hold all night long. If Bradley elects to copy the blueprint created by Chaves, then Rios will need to be able to keep throwing punches while being held by Bradley.
Rios can’t just lower his head like a Billy goat and ram Bradley in the face each time he holds onto him, because that won’t work. Bradley is pretty good with his head as well, and the last thing that Rios needs is to be cut up from Bradley’s head-butts.
“They said he boxed real good against Marquez, but Marquez is a counter puncher,” Rios said. “Marquez is a pressure fighter. He [Bradley] fought Ruslan [Provodnikov], and he’s a massive puncher, but he pressed his [backside] to fight. [Jessie] Vargas wasn’t pressuring. He was just sitting down and waiting, waiting and waiting for that one shot. So he did what he had to do in that fight. This fight is different. I’m a pressure fighter and I come to fight and it’s going to be a hell of a fight,” Rios said.
Rios and Marquez are completely different fighters. Rios is a much more offensive-minded fighter than Marquez, so he’s not going to sit around waiting for Bradley to throw a punch so that he counters him. Rios is going to be on the attack the entire time and will be looking to create opportunities with his pressure and constant punching. Rios has the far better punching power between the two fighters than Bradley, and that’s going to help him when they do get caught up in exchanges.
I don’t see Bradley fighting Rios as aggressively as he’s fought his last couple of opponents. Bradley’s trainer Atlas will make sure that he keeps Bradley focused at all times with the game plan that he wants him to use for the fight. The game plan may change during the course of the fight, but Bradley will be following what Atlas wants him to do to the letter.