Weekend Review: Rios’ big night
Brandon Rios: True boxing fans endure a endless stream of marginal fights involving cautious fighters in the hope that someone like Rios will come along. That’s why the Southern Californian’s performance against Anthony Peterson on Saturday was so exciting. He beat up a world-class opponent in the most-entertaining way, with a breathtaking combination of skill and fury. Peterson didn’t know what hit him. Rios, only 24, might turn out to be just another brawler who will someday soon meet his match in a slick boxer. Or we might have something truly special here. Either way, the ride is going to be a lot of fun.
Anthony Peterson: Could Peterson have had a more miserable night? First, when it became clear that he couldn’t stand toe to toe with Rios and survive, he failed to make a significant adjustment. The result was a monumental beat down. And, second, he took the relatively easy way out by repeatedly fouling Rios until he was disqualified. He saved himself from more punishment but tarnished his reputation. The previously unbeaten contender said afterward that he wants to look at the tape of the fight and determine where he went wrong. That could be a long process.
Gamboa-Salido: The Yuriorkis Gamboa-Orlando Salido fight seemed to be a can’t-miss action fight, a talented boxer who takes risks against a clever and gritty veteran. In the end, it was a stinker. Gamboa controlled the fight but was hardly the exciting fighter he seemed to have become, fighting cautiously at times and in a sloppy manner at other times. He sure misses a lot of punches. Salido, appearing to be slow, rallied a bit when Gamboa decided to become more aggressive but was outclassed overall. Bottom line: It was painful to watch, particularly after the Rios-Peterson fight.
Weight disparities: Rios and Peterson both made the 135-pound limit on Friday but weighed 151 and 139 respectively on Saturday, a 12-pound weight difference that apparently gave Rios an advantage. Salido gained 12 pounds overnight, which resulted in the IBF stripping him of his belt because he exceeded the designated limit of 10 pounds fighters are allowed to gain between the weigh-in and fight. The athletic commissions should take it a step further. They should disqualify fighters who exceed the designated cap, which would be based on the weight class. It won’t happen because it would cost too many people too much money but, in a perfect world, the safety of fighters would come first.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Wladimir Klitschko: Klitschko will always be criticized by some for being a boring fighter who faces weak opposition. Another way to look at it is this: He has knocked out almost every opponent he’s fought — including Sam Peter on Saturday — and hasn’t dodged anyone. Yes, he could take more risks in the ring. He would be a lot more popular if he fought all the time as he did in the final seconds of the Peter fight. That’s not what works for him, though; we saw that earlier in his career. And, OK, his opposition has been relatively weak. Is that his fault? He’ll probably fight David Haye one day soon and nothing will change: Another KO and little respect.
BIGGEST LOSER II
Sam Peter: The former titleholder gave himself a chance to beat Klitschko going into the fight. He trimmed down, he won a few fights and he was working with capable trainer Abel Sanchez. He looked like a guy who thought he could win early in the fight. No one outside Peter’s camp gave him more than a puncher’s chance, though. He hasn’t had a victory over a decent heavyweight since he stopped Oleg Maskaev 2¾ years ago. He was never more than a good heavyweight himself and has declined. The way he lost to Klitschko — broken down and then brutally knocked out — could signal the end of his career as an elite heavyweight.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.: First the No. 2 fighter pound for pound in the world goes on a racist and homophobic video rant aimed at Manny Pacquiao and later apologizes. Then he is arrested on felony charges after his former girlfriend alleges he beat her and stole her iPhone after an argument in front of their three children at the house she lives in. He spent three hours in jail and was released on bail. He could face up to five years in prison. Advice to Mayweather: Shut up and stay home. And, oh yeah: It might be a good idea to fight once in a while. Just a thought.
Ricky Hatton: The former junior welterweight titleholder was caught on a shocking video snorting a white substance, which the UK newspaper News of the World purports to be cocaine. A spokesman told The Associated Press that Hatton is “distraught.” “He's been in a bad place for some time … and obviously he's really upset about what has happened but he totally takes responsibility. He just wants to let everybody know how he feels. He's got to sort himself out,” the spokesman said a day after the video went public. Let’s hope Hatton emerges from his downward spiral, if that’s what it is. He’s only 31 and a very bright, personable guy. He could do a lot with the rest of his life.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT II
Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell: The Andres were scheduled to fight in the third round of the Super Six tournament on Sept. 25 but it looks as if it's not going to happen, at least not on that date. Ward and Dirrell have hit a snag in negotiations and can't agree on a site, although no one involved has provided details. Showtime reportedly is threatening to sue both fighters if the fight doesn't take place on the original date or early next month. This is garbage. The only thing I can think of is that Ward and Dirrell are holding out for more money from Showtime even though, presumably, they agreed to terms during the original negotiations before the tournament was announced. Why else would Showtime threaten to sue? I've lost a lot of respect for Ward and Dirrell.
Bob Arum after Brandon Rios’ victory: “Fight like that all the time and he’s going to get a lot of big fights. Believe me, he won’t be begging for them if he keeps that up.”
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]