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Brandon Rios vs. Aaron Herrera tonight

Brandon Rios

By Dan Ambrose: Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (33-3-1, 24 KOs) will be coming out of his 19-month retirement on Sunday night to face Aaron Herrera (32-6-1, 21 KOs) in a 10 round fight in what he hopes is a successful comeback on Premier Boxing Champion at the Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, California. Rios retired following a 9th round TKO loss to Tim Bradley on November 7, 2015.

(Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Team Rios)

It was such a bad performance from Rios that it wasn’t all that surprising that he hung up his gloves. He looked poorly trained, and not in the same league as Bradley. The thing is, it’s doubtful that Rios would have done well against Bradley even if he was at his best. We’d see Rios struggle in 3 out of his last 4 fights going into the fight Bradley.

Rios made weight on Saturday in weighing in at 146 ¼ pounds. His opponent Herrera weighed in at 147 ¾ lbs. It’s good that Rios was able to make the weight for the welterweight division. But he’s been pretty good at making 147 since moving up to that weight class in November 2013 in his fight with Pacquiao.

Rios has always been able to make weight for his welterweight bouts. Where Rios struggled was back when he was fighting at lightweight. Rios lost his World Boxing Association World lightweight title in his fight against Richard Abril on April 14, 2012. Rios came in 2 pounds over the 135 lb. limit at 137. He then went on to win a controversial 12 round split decision in a fight in which he appeared to lose badly.

Rios left trainer Robert Garcia. Rios is now trained by Ricky Funez. Additionally, Rios is no longer with Top Rank. Things slowed down for Rios after his one-sided 12 round decision loss to Manny Pacquiao. It’s unclear why. Rios wasn’t fighting a lot after that loss. Rios has just 3 times since the Pacquiao fight in 2013.

Rios beat Diego Chaves, Mike Alvarado and Tim Bradley. If Rios had stayed with Top Rank, it would have been interesting to see what fighters they matched him against. Rios might have been looking to fight Jessie Vargas or Terence Crawford. Rios would have been way out of his league against Crawford. It might be a good thing that he’s no longer with Top Rank, because I think Rios would have been little more than a trial horse for Crawford when he eventually makes his move to the 147 lb. division in the near future.

Rios was hoping to fight Victor Ortiz, but the match failed to materialize after Victor opted not to take it. That would have been interesting bout between two faded former world champions. However, Rios still feels like he’s got the talent to win one to two more world titles in the near future. I don’t know that Ortiz feels the same. The reality is that both fighters stopped being world champions around the same time in 2011 and 2012.

Rios hasn’t come close to winning another world title, and neither has Vargas. It still would have been a fun fight for the boxing public to see Rios and Vargas go at it for the heck of it. Perhaps Ortiz will change his mind at some point and take the fight with Rios. If Vargas is going to continue fighting, then he might as well face recognizable fighters like Rios that the casual boxing fans want to see him fight.

“I’m just ready to get back to the top. I know that I have to climb the ladder and that’s what I’m here for,” said Rios. ”When I said that I was done, I was done. Eventually though I started getting that urge again, to get on that stage and perform on TV.”

I hope Rios isn’t looking past Herrera tonight, because it could be bad for him if he loses this fight. Rios hasn’t beaten a well-trained good fighter in 5 years since his win over Mike Alvarado in 2012. Rios beat Alvarado a second time on January 24, 2015, but that wasn’t a well-trained fighter he beat. Alvarado looked like he didn’t train at all for that fight.

Alvarado didn’t look mentally engaged for that fight. He seemed like he was just going through the motions. Rios’ disqualification win over Diego Chaves was more of questionable win than anything. That was one of the strangest fights I’ve ever seen before.

The referee took a point away from Chaves almost immediately for clinching in round 3 after he’d only clinched 10 times in the entire fight. Then later on, the referee disqualified Chaves for throwing an elbow. At the time the referee stopped the fight, both fighters were in a clinch and no punches were being thrown.

Rios was losing the fight and there was only 1 round to go. Rios was saved by that disqualification. Either way you look at it, Rios fought poorly and didn’t do much of anything in the fight other than sticking his head into the face of Chaves repeatedly.

Where to watch and start time for the Rios-Herrera : It will be televised on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Location of the Rios vs. Herrera fight: Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, California.

If Rios can regain the form he had while fighting at lightweight, he could win another world title and save his boxing career. However, part of what made Rios so good at lightweight was his size advantage over his opponents. Once Rios had to move up to welterweight, he was sunk. He didn’t have the size advantage over anybody. Moreover, Rios’ lack of speed hurt him a lot more in the welterweight division than it did at lightweight, because the fighters are so much bigger in this weight class. Rios isn’t big enough for him to dominate.

Rios is going to need to be in the best shape for tonight’s fight with Herrera if he wants to win. Rios didn’t look at his best in his fights against Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley. Hopefully, Rios has taken the Herrera fight seriously.

“I feel like I’m in really good shape after working with a nutritionist for the first time. My nutritionist is with me 12 hours a day and it’s had me feeling great heading into this fight,” Rios said.

Rios looks like he’s in good shape. The only thing that concerns me is his slurring when he speaks, and the way that he was answering questions from the boxing media. Rios didn’t seem alert. Rios is going to need to be mentally alert tonight if he wants to beat Herrera, because he could get taken out again if he’s dozing off inside the ring. Rios needs to jump on Herrera and look to take him out quickly, because he’s going to be looking to land body shots to try and take Rios out like Tim Bradley did.


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