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Notebook: Rios still basking in victory over Peterson

11
Nov

GRAPEVINE, Texas — Brandon Rios went into his fight against Anthony Peterson in September as a big underdog. He emerged a potential star.

Rios gave Peterson, highly respected and unbeaten at the time, the kind of beating that wins legions of fans who are starved for fighters as exciting this one. Rios ultimately won by disqualification in seven rounds for repeated low blows, which many believe was Peterson’s way of surrendering.

No one who has followed his career was terribly surprised. However, he gained great exposure because the fight was the main event on national television.

“Yeah, my life has changed a little bit,” said Rios, who fights Omri Lowther on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. “People started asking me after that, ‘Where you been at?’

“And I’ll take another step being on this big card.”

Rios (25-0-1, 18 knockouts) is a work in progress in terms of his behavior.

His development as a fighter was interrupted several times because of brushes with the law. However, he’s determined to stay out of trouble and realize his dreams as a fighter.

He has said he would probably be in prison or in a gang if it weren’t for boxing.

“I’ve changed as a person,” he said. “I’ve matured a lot, I think. And I’ve learned what hard work can do for you. I worked very hard before I fought Peterson. I was ready for the fight, I was in shape. That’s why I knew I’d beat him.”

Now, Rios could face the winner of the Dec. 4 lightweight title fight between Urbano Antillon and Humberto Soto sometime next year.

“That’s what I’m hoping will happen,” he said.

And no one will be surprised if he wins this time.

Rios was added to the card when Kelly Pavlik, scheduled to fight Brian Vera, pulled out with a rib injury.

Big obstacle? Guillermo Rigondeaux, the junior featherweight from Cuba, plans to win a major title with the fewest pro fights in history. He’s 6-0 as a pro but had an extensive amateur career.

He’ll have to go through a tough veteran to do it, though. Ricardo Cordoba, his opponent on Saturday for an interim title, is a former junior featherweight titleholder who counts Celestino Caballero as one of his victims.

Bernard Dunne took Cordoba’s title by an 11th-round TKO last year — in a fight Cordoba (37-2-2, 23 KOs) was winning — but the Panamanian has won three straight fights since.

“His amateur experience is to be respected,” Cordoba said through an interpreter. “But this is professional boxing. It’s a different game. I see a guy with a lot of qualities but not enough to beat me.”

The Rigondeaux-Corboda fight is being billed as a title fight but it’s not. Interim titles are next to meaningless.

Monster promotion: Everyone knew that the Pacquiao-Margarito fight would be a big promotion. Anything Pacquiao does these days draws attention, and Margarito has a fan base.

Not many believed it would gain the apparent traction it has, though. Many observers will be surprised if the fight doesn’t do at least 1 million pay-per-view buys, which would make it a “mega-fight.”

Why?

Because of the unusual exposure Pacquiao has received. He was featured on a segment of CBS’ “60 Minutes,” which could draw viewers who might not be boxing fans. He was the cover the American Airlines magazine, which millions will have seen.

And his singing duet with Will Ferrell on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” on which Pacquiao has appeared before, gave him tremendous publicity.

“I think most people thought this promotion was comparable to Pacquiao-(Joshua) Clottey, which did 700,000 buys. Now, if things go well, it could exceed that number,” said Mark Taffet of HBO Pay-Per-View.

Some believe it can approach the 1.4 million generated by Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley in May.

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