The trainers of lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon are looking forward to the proposed matchup between their fighters even though the anticipated 135-pound showdown isn’t a done deal yet.
The can’t-miss slugfest has a date (July 9), a venue (The Home Depot Center’s outdoor tennis arena in Carson, Calif.) and a network (Showtime). It just doesn’t have two signed contracts yet, although the Robert Garcia, who trains Rios, and Abel Sanchez, who trains Antillon, believe that will happen soon.
“It has to happen,” Sanchez told RingTV.com. “It’s 99 percent done on our end. Nothing’s been signed but I think the contracts are a formality. It will happen and it will be a fight fans’ fight, something special for Southern California fans.
“I’m looking forward to them fighting in the open air in a packed house.”
Garcia, who guided Rios to the WBA title, which his fighter earned by stopping Miguel Acosta in the 10th round of a fight-of-the-year candidate in February, is also looking forward to the Antillon fight.
“It’s a matchup that is as good or even better than Brandon’s fight with Acosta,” he told RingTV.com. “It will probably be better. I’ve known Urbano for years and he’s big, strong, come-forward fighter, just like Brandon.
“The fight will come down to who takes a better punch, who hits harder, who has better conditioning, and who has a bigger heart. It’s going to be a hell of a fight. People shouldn’t miss it.”
Provided the contracts are signed.
“We haven’t seen a contract yet,” Garcia said. “But Bob (Arum, promoter of both Rios and Antillon) wants it and Showtime loves it. We trust Cameron (Dunkin, Rios’ manager) to negotiate the best deal for us. Our job is to get ready.”
Garcia says Rios is already training and the right hand he injured during the Acosta fight is completely healed.
“The hand won’t be an issue,” he said.
Arum proposed the Rios-Antillon fight after a rematch between beltholder Humberto Soto and Antillon that was scheduled for the May 7 Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard fell through when the Mexican veteran pulled out. Soto won a close, hard-fought unanimous decision over Antillon in a fight-of-the-year candidate last December.