A Saturday press conference is in the works for smack-talkers Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi.
Who wins Rios-Abril? Ask the experts
Brandon Rios and Richard Abril will fight for the vacant WBA lightweight title on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Boxing experts give their predictions on the outcome.
THE RING's No. 1-rated lightweight Brandon Rios and Richard Abril appear to be ready to fight yesterday. Their mutual animosity has already sparked semi-brawls at two separate press conferences, which pre-empted a posedown at the third.
All of the above points to fireworks between the two when they clash for the vacant WBA belt on Saturday night in an HBO Pay Per View televised-bout at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.
As an incentive, Top Rank Inc. President, Todd duBoef, announced the day before the bout that the winner of Rios-Abril will receive a $50,000 bonus.
"Prizefighting is part of boxing’s heritage. In the early years of modern professional boxing, offering a bonus or 'prize' to the winner of a fight was a tradition. It added more excitement for the fighters and the fans. We wanted to bring the prize aspect back into fight game and this seemed to be the perfect platform to do it," said duBoef.
A 29-year-old Miami-based Cuban, Abril (17-2-1, 8 knockouts) seems to delight in his underdog status against Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs), who, at 5-foot-8, is three inches shorter than his adversary.
Rios lost the WBA belt on the scales before his last fight -- an 11th-round knockout of John Murray in December, and is 12-0-1 with 11 knockouts in his past 13 bouts.
"He [Abril] is going to run. He is going to try and run away from me all night. He talks about how he’s going to punish me," said Rios, 25, who believes that Abril will attempt to use his range and fight from a distance.
"If he wants to do that he’s going to have to fight me. But I think he’s going to pull a Forrest Gump. 'Run Richard, run.' I’m a lion inside the ring and a lion outside the ring. What I say I’ll do, I do. I walk the walk."
In the pre-fight trash-talking, Abril has given as good as he has received from Rios.
"I feel very good and I am very prepared for this fight. You [Rios] have been talking a lot of smack. Well, I’m here and not afraid of you. I’m the one who wanted this fight," said Abril, during Wednesday's final pre-fight press conference.
"You are not 100 percent Mexican. You talk a lot of smack. I ride horses, listen to Mexican music and speak the language. I am more Mexican than Rios. He doesn’t even understand me when I yell at him in Spanish."
They share a common opponent in Miguel Acosta, who sandwiched September's third-round victory over Luis Cardozo between the losses to Rios and Abril in February and October of last year, respectively.
Rios had earned the WBA crown with his come-from-behind, 10th-round knockout of Acosta, whom he floored in the sixth, eighth and last round of a fight that ended Acosta's 19-fight winning streak.
Abril believes that his triumph was more convincing over Acosta, whom he dropped once in the fourth and twice in the 10th on the way to a unanimous decision.
RingTV.com gathered the opinions of 15 knowledgeable observers as to what they believe will be Saturday night's result.
Brandon Rios KO 8 Richard Abril: Brandon Rios won't have many problems with Richard Abril, a fighter who is not on the level of Rios.
Brandon Rios TKO 8 Richard Abril: Richard Abril seems like a competent operator from everything I've seen, but I'll put it plainly: Richard Abril can't beat Brandon Rios.
Brandon Rios UD 12 Richard Abril: Brandon Rios by late stoppage or unanimous decision. Richard Abril is a tall and mobile boxer who will make good use of his height and reach in the early rounds by sticking and moving on the ever-stalking Rios.
Brandon Rios TKO 6 Richard Abril: Brandon Rios, sixth-round TKO. Richard Abril is unknown, which sometimes is an advantage. It won’t be against Rios, who has had time to do his homework in the weeks since Yuriorkis Gamboa decided he had other plans.
Brandon Rios KO 11 Richard Abril: I think this fight plays out like Brandon Rios vs. Miguel Acosta. Richard Abril will come on early, but Rios will continue to apply pressure and knock him out late. I'm going with an 11th round stoppage for Rios.
Brandon Rios UD 12 Richard Abril: Brandon Rios by unanimous decision. Richard Abril is a good boxer who has shown a reliable chin.
Brandon Rios W12 Richard Abril: Richard Abril is unknown and many people mistakenly equate that to mean he has no chance. He's lanky with long arms and is a decent boxer with some power.
Brandon Rios KO 9 Richard Abril: I like Brandon Rios late. Richard Abril's movement and size will trouble Bam Bam early on. But Rios is a guy who picks up steam as the rounds go on. I like Rios to stop Abril in nine rounds.
Brandon Rios KO 9 Richard Abril: I like Brandon Rios. He's quickly becoming known as a champion and a force that will be around for awhile. Rios by mid to late round KO over Richard Abril.
Brandon Rios TKO10 Richard Abril: Any matchup that involves Brandon Rios starts with the question of him making the contracted weight, something he's failed to do in two out of his last four bouts.
Brandon Rios KO 9 Richard Abril: Remember when Greg Haugen said Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. fought nothing but Tijuana taxicab drivers? Chavez made him pay by keeping him around until he had sufficiently punished Haugen for the disrespect.
Brandon Rios TKO 7 Richard Abril: You have to like Brandon Rios in this one. I have seen Richard Abril a few times in person, but I am not as familiar with his style as I would like to be.
Brandon Rios MD 12 Richard Abril: This pick assumes Brandon Rios makes weight safely; either way, it's a tough go. Richard Abril is a couple scorecards shy of unbeaten and has faced about the same level of foe as Rios.
He's got some solid skill and some sharp counters. Rios, once he gets going, is one of the game's most skilled pressure fighters.
He might fall behind scoring-wise, but he's the sort who wins fights over rounds. Ultimately, he'll be just a tad too physical for Abril and come on strong down the stretch for the late stoppage or decision.
Brandon Rios KO 9 Richard Abril: I don't think Richard Abril is as good all-around as Yuriorkis Gamboa, Brandon Rios' original opponent. But the Cuban is hardly a pushover.
Brandon Rios KO 7 Richard Abril: I've got Brandon Rios by KO in seven. He's just too big. Richard Abril doesn't have the power to keep him off.
The experts favor the rugged Brandon Rios to vanquish Richard Abril, 15-0
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org