Timothy Bradley will fight Brandon Rios on November 7th in Las Vegas.
The announcement came just days after Bradley said that he would be parting ways with trainer, Joel Diaz. Rios is coming off two wins, his last being a three round knockout over Mike Alvarado in January. His last loss was on points against Manny Pacquiao in 2013.
Does Rios have a shot? This is boxing and anything can happen. The style of Rios would figure in many people’s minds that it is a little too limited for the versatile Bradley. But let’s not forget that the two weight champion, although he has a pretty stellar resume, is 1-1-1 in his last three fights. The loss to Pacquiao was inevitable based on his first showing against the Filipino, even though he controversially gave him his fifth loss in that one. In his fight with Chaves, Bradley could have boxed but instead chose to go to war with the sturdy challenger that took the hard hitting Keith Thurman 10 rounds to dispose of. Maybe he has learned that to earn the most money he needed to become exciting, but he is hurting his longevity in the ring. And battles like the one he had with Chaves do take their toll, sooner than a lot of boxers think.
Alvarado showed that Rios can be outboxed and outmoved. Bradley has decent footwork, himself, but it is a question of how much has been taken from him. He will need to be on the move for almost the whole fight as he was when he fought Ruslan Provodnikov. Can he pull that type of performance out of the bag one last time? The good thing for him is that, although Rios can bang, he isn’t a particularly concussive hitter and usually needs to throw in volume to halt his foes.
Brandon Rios has a task ahead of him, though. He will need to drag Bradley into a war, something that the champion doesn’t seem to mind these days. He will need to get the better of the exchanges by first throwing a good jab and then setting up Bradley for those big hooks upstairs. The former WBO champion will need to hope that his work will wear Bradley down over the course of the fight.
In terms of entertainment, the crowd and television audience should come away feeling grateful, especially if Bradley is in the mood to go to war once again. It all depends if he is comfortable feeling Rios’ power. If he is, then he may not see why he cannot exchange with him from beginning to end. If Rios finds himself chasing all night then we could see something in the fashion of the second fight he had with Alvarado.
Whatever the pattern, the words “chess match” will probably need to find another bout to apply itself to.