Tim Bradley vs. Brandon Rios is a fight I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. Draw up a list of some of the most memorable fights of recent years and both guys’ names appear. While they are stylistically different fighters, they have in common tremendous conditioning, granite chins and never-quit attitudes. That means it is going to be a great fight.
The list of media workout quotes released by HBO has only added to my enthusiasm. Rios is coming off from one of the biggest wins of his career, a three-round destruction of Mike Alvarado, a fighter he had previous gone 1-1 against in two extremely exciting, back-and-forth wars.
The version of Alvarado who Rios defeated looked like a faded version of himself. At the same time, Rios looked great in the fight: crisp and aggressive with his combinations and very sharp with his footwork.
A win over a top-ranked star like Tim Bradley would be a huge resume builder for Rios, a fact that was clear in his statements at the media workout. HBO’s press release quotes him as saying “Bradley is going to be my ticket back to the top.”
Both Rios and his trainer, Robert Garcia, recognize that this will be a tough night’s work. “We are ready for the best Tim Bradley,” Rios said. “The one who beat Juan Manuel Marquez.” Acknowledging the well-rounded challenge Bradley present’s stylistically, Rios revealed that his camp had included “A boxer, a brawler and a boxer-brawler.”
“The way to beat Tim Bradley is to put on pressure in the fight and try to knock him out,” said Garcia. “We plan to cut of the ring and turn this into a real fight.”
I have to concede that I am curious to see whether or not Tim Bradley will show signs of wear from the tough series of fights he’s been in over the past few years. But I have no doubt that he will be the best that it’s possible for him to be at this point.
In his statements in HBO’s press release, Bradley sounded confident that he’d be better prepared than ever, due to his new association with famed trainer Teddy Atlas. “No trainer of mine has ever prepared for a fight the way Teddy has for me with Rios,” said Bradley.
Bradley sounded aware of the challenged Rios represents, that he “is relentless, fights hard, can endure pain,” but spoke confidently of how well prepared he is to stay focused for the entire distance.
I’m already on record picking Tim Bradley for this fight. Until I see that he is truly a faded version of his old self, he’s too talented for me to see him losing to Rios. But Rios will come prepared to give himself every opportunity to pull off the upset. He’s a dedicated, passionate fighter. This could very well be a late candidate for Fight of the Year.