Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

SLAM BAM BAM!

Dougie:

What an all-out great action fight between Brandon Rios and Miguel Acosta! I hope Michael Katsidis gets by Robert Guerrero so that he and Rios can get it on. That’s got fight of the year written all over it! Don’t know if there’d be anything left to scrape up off the canvas in the aftermath of that one.

Would there be any obstacles to making that one? If so, who’s next for Rios? What’s next for Acosta? — Dirk, Raleigh, N.C.

I think Acosta-Rios is an early fight of the year candidate. The pressure fighter-vs.-stick-and-move-puncher style matchup was beautiful in its brutal ebb and flow.

I have no doubt that Rios-Katsidis would be THE fight of the year it took place. I can’t think of a more combustible matchup at lightweight or any other weight class. Unfortunately, there is one little bitty obstacle to that fight: the Top Rank-Golden Boy Promotions cold war. Rios is a loyal soldier in the Bob Arum Corps; Katsidis is a decorated officer in Richard Schaefer’s Golden Army.

That sucks for fight fans, but there are many world-class lightweights out there who possess aggressive styles that are compatible with Bam Bam’s brute boxing; and some of them are promoted by Arum, such as WBC beltholder Humberto Soto and Urbano Antillon.

The winner of the Soto-Antillon rematch, which takes place on the undercard of Pacquiao-Mosley on May 7, is a possible opponent for Rios. Future hall-of-famer Marco Antonio Barrera has also been mentioned as an opponent for the newly crowned WBA titleholder.

If Antillon beats Soto, I think Arum should put those young belt holders in the ring (as he planned to do on the undercard of Antonio Margarito’s comeback fight in Mexico last May before a sparring cut forced Rios to pull out). Rios-Antillon would be every bit the bloody barnburner that Rios-Katsidis could be.

Unfortunately, I think Arum will make the Rios-Barrera fight. Remember, “Marsa Bob” said that he would look for “some of the biggest names of boxing” for Rios to fight next during the kid’s post-fight interview on Showtime. (If Arum does make that fight I wonder if the same message board mutants who are panning Morales-Maidana will have a problem with the likely pounding that Barrera will take against the giant 24-year-old lightweight.)

What’s next for Acosta? Good question. Probably a lot of bed rest for the next few weeks, but when he’s ready and able to get back into the ring I hope he gets another shot at one of the titles. The valiant Venezuelan vet certainly deserves it. Three of his last four opponents were undefeated RING-rated contenders (Antillon, Paulus Moses and Rios) whose records totaled 77-0-1.

I think Arum (or Fernando Beltran) should get him a shot at the winner of the Miguel Vazquez-Lenny Zappa IBF title bout (on the Cotto-Mayorga undercard on March 12). Vazquez is a big-boned pure technician that most fighters wish to avoid. Acosta, however, may have the speed and footwork to beat the underrated Mexican boxer. If Zappa wins, the aggressive Aussie puncher would present the same kind of fight that Rios and Antillon did, which means he would make for a damn good fight with Acosta.

BAM BAM THE BEAST

Brandon Rios passed his final exam with flying colors. What a beast! With youth and good conditioning on his side I think he was able to weather some rough moments and take the fight to Acosta. The champ looked like he was gassed early, which I’m sure helped.

Questions remain though, as Bam Bam took plenty of shots and almost got stopped himself. I think Rios learned to keep his hands up as he bored in as the fight wore on. So, with his strengths and weaknesses how do you feel about his chances against Humberto Soto or better still unifying the titles altogether? On a slightly sadistic note… anyone wanna watch Bam Bam versus Marcos Maidana at 140? — Joseph

Man, Maidana-Rios at 140 pounds would be crazy. The title of that fight would have to be “Whose balls are bigger?” It’s another guaranteed fight of the year that the current Top Rank-GBP feud won’t allow to happen. How effin’ sad.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Rios just passed his final test as a lightweight, as you stated, and now he’s a major 135-pound beltholder. As long as he can safely make 135 pounds he should stay at lightweight and fight the best available contenders and fellow titleholders, which definitely includes Soto.

I think Rios-Soto is a great fight, even better than Soto-Antillon I was. The question is, does Soto want any part of Rios? The original plan was for the winner of Soto-Antillon to fight Rios on Feb. 26. Soto won a hard-fought decision that many hailed as the FOTY for 2010 but immediately after the bout he told the ringside press (which included Yours Truly) that it was so grueling that he needed a rest and wouldn’t be able to fight Rios on that early in 2011. That’s why Arum pulled in Acosta to fight Rios on the Showtime date and scheduled the rematch Antillon for later in the year.

However, Soto’s decision to fight another rematch this Saturday, March 5) against Fidel Munoz, who gave him a tougher-than-expected fight last September) had Rios and members of his crew scratching their heads. If Soto was so tuckered out after fighting Antillon in December why is he fighting the unheralded Colombian one week after he was supposed to fight Rios?

BAM BAM IS THE MAN

All the talk about how Brandon Rios has reached a new maturity level seems kind of silly after watching his gutty performance. We like him because he beats people up and sacrifices himself in the process. Most boxers I work out with are nice guys, but they did not go to finishing school and have more “street” in them than the viewing public may be comfortable with. We should portray them for who they are and not feel the need make them into the people we want them to be. — Joel, Woodland, CA

I don’t think there’s anything “silly” Rios’ new maturity, which has nothing to do with how the media or anyone else wants to portray him. It’s something that he wants in his life.

He’ll never be a refined guy who is careful about what he says on record, which can be a good thing, but he can certainly be a better human being than he was a few years ago, and I believe his efforts to grow up outside of the ring have enhanced his ability inside the ring because he‘s more dedicated to training than he‘s ever been. I’ve watched and covered Rios since he was 18 years old and I can honestly say that his new outlook and attitude is sincere.

Heck, it’s the reason I changed my pick on Saturday’s fight from Acosta to Rios.

I thought Acosta was all wrong for Rios, but in talking to the 24-year-old contender a week and half before the fight I was struck by how focused he was and how together he sounded. He said he was in a good place and I believed him.


I understand what you’re saying about fans liking Rios because of his gritty style and toughness, because I’m one of those blood-thirsty freaks, but you should speak for yourself. There are many fans who care about the personalities of the athletes they follow. Some are attracted to a tale of redemption and others are always skeptical of those stories.

Riso is going to have more attention from fans than other lightweight standouts and it will have more to do with his personality than his ring style.

RELENTLESS, RUTHLESS RIOS

Que pasa Dougie?

Very entertaining fight between Rios and Acosta. Rios is a relentless, ruthless vato LOL!! He was outskilled, but he outworked Acosta, and took him out! He reminds me of Antonio Margarito, but more intelligent. After the 5th I saw the KO coming. Acosta was running around and throwing lots of punches to no avail and Rios just wore him down. I think a Brandon Rios-Humberto Soto would be great fight whenever Soto is ready.

What do you suggest should be next for “Bam Bam” Dougie? — Miguel, LBC

I’d love to see him fight RING champ Juan Manuel Marquez even though I realize that fight is a total pipe dream. Marquez is looking for a mega-fight vs. Pacquiao or a 140-pound world title in order to make Mexican history. And hey, JMM deserves a huge payday and/or history; not another grueling dogfight with a younger, bigger, stronger lightweight stud.

After Marquez, I think Rios vs. the winner of the Soto-Antillon rematch is the fight I’d like to see the most. It’s a partial title unification bout (WBC -WBA) and the style matchup ensures entertainment and drama regardless of who Rios winds up fighting.

And of course, Rios vs. Katsidis would be a dream slugfest.

Having said all that, I would give Rios a pass to fight a faded legend in Barrera if he (or his team) want to give him the obligatory “gimme” first title defense. I think Rios has earned the right to be the favorite for a change.

Whoever, Rios winds up fighting I‘m sure I‘ll favor him to win the match. He just knocked out the guy that I (and many others) thought had the perfect style to defeat him.

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