RingTV.com caught up to unbeaten WBA lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios, of Oxnard, Calif., for a Q&A concerning his future, as well as the controversial ending to last weekend’s fourth-round knockout by Floyd Mayweather Jr. of former WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz.
The 25-year-old Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs) will be after his 11th win in a row and his 10th consecutive knockout against an opponent yet to be determined on the undercard of the rematch between WBA junior middleweight beltholder Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito on Dec. 3.
Cotto-Margarito II is happening at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which will represent Rios’ first appearance on the East Coast, let alone perhaps the most famed venue in the country.
A longtime adversary of the 24-year-old Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs), Rios had been invited to participate in the ringwalk of the 34-year-old Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) along with his trainer, Robert Garcia, who also trains Margarito.
Ortiz is trained by Robert’s older brother, Danny Garcia. The brothers have been feuding for years and still do not talk, stemming from a training switch made by Ortiz to Danny rather than Robert earlier in Ortiz’s career.
The talented, hard-hitting Rios is coming off of July’s third-round knockout of Urbano Antillon (28-3, 20 KOs), the first defense of his belt. Prior to that, Rios came up with a 10th-round stoppage that dethroned Miguel Acosta (28-4-2, 22 KOs) in February.
Rios dropped Acosta once each during the sixth, eighth and last rounds on the way to ending his 19-fight winning streak that had included 12 stoppages and knockouts in his previous three bouts.
The lone blemish on the record of Rios is a 10-round draw against Manuel Perez in October of 2008. After that, Rios reeled off six consecutive knockouts before scoring a seventh-round, disqualification victory over previously unbeaten Anthony Peterson (32-1, 20 KOs) in a WBA eliminator bout in September of last year.
Rios followed the win over Peterson with a fourth-round knockout of Omri Lowther in on the undercard of a unanimous decision by Manny Pacquiao‘s unanimous decision victory over Margarito for the since-vacated WBC junior middleweight belt in November of last year.
In this interview, Rios explains why he decided not to attend Mayweather-Ortiz and discusses the ending of that fight, talks about being a married father of three, and addresses potential bouts, including one opposite unbeaten featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs).
RingTV.com: So what do you think about the opportunity to fight at Madison Square Garden?
Brandon Rios: This is great, because I get to fight in the same place and on the same card where my buddy, Antonio, is fighting at. My boy Margarito is going to be fighting on there.
So that’s going to make it easier for Robert. We’ll both be in the same gym training for the same day, so it’s great. Like I said, this is going to be great being my first time fighting there.
Now everybody who is on the East Coast is going to know who I am. All of the people in New York are going to see who I am, and they’re going to see a great performance on my behalf.
RingTV.com: So you decided not to go to Las Vegas for Mayweather-Ortiz?
BR: We just didn’t want to go. It wouldn’t have been a good idea to go over there. It just wouldn’t be good.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on the ending of Mayweather-Ortiz?
BR: Honestly, the way that it ended, I didn’t see nothing wrong. The referee did his job right, and Mayweather did the right thing. What Victor Ortiz did, and the sh—y part about it, was when he headbutted.
That was an intentional foul. He leaped into the headbutt. You know, he knew that he was doing that and he knew what he was doing. That was f–ked up. That was f–ked up right there.
But other than that, Mayweather was doing what he does like always in his fights. I mean, he hasn’t been in the ring for like 16 months or something like that. And he didn’t show no ring rust.
He did great. He worked his game plan and he looked sharp. He looked very energetic and everything else was going well. I think that the only thing was that Victor’s corner was a little bit nervous.
Victor was a little nervous himself. I think that he just got frustrated because he couldn’t hit Floyd with any of his big shots.
So to me, honestly, Mayweather and the referee, they did nothing wrong. Honestly, Floyd finished what Victor started.
RingTV.com: How does it feel to be on another big undercard after having been on Pacquiao-Margarito?
BR: Right now, if feels great. I’ve come a long way. The fans are starting to recognize the warrior I am and the fighter that I am and that I’m a guy who leaves it all in the ring.
It feels awesome and it feels great. I would love to have my own pay per view card one day, but right now, my manager and my promoters, they know what they’re doing.
They’re taking their time and they’re not rushing me. That’s what I pay them for. That’s why I have a manager that I pay and a trainer that I pay. They’re doing their job very well, and I’m doing my job very well.
That’s what it comes down to. I pay my manager to look for my fights, and Cameron Dunkin looks for the right opponents and he’s done a good job.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on the fact that your name was brought up as a potential opponent for Gamboa down the road should he rise in weight?
BR: Honestly, when they told me about that, that Yuriorkis Gamboa was going to come up to my weight class, I stopped everything.
I stopped thinking about going up to 140. I slowed it back down and said I’m going to stay at 135 and wait for him to come up to my weight class and I’m going to fight him.
Everybody says that Yuriorkis Gamboa is something very special, Gamboa is this and Gamboa is that. But honestly, I want to see what everybody’s talking about.
I would love to take on the challenge, so that’s why I stopped thinking about 140 now, and I’m going to concentrate on making 135 still.
I’m going to wait for him to come up to my weight class, and then, after me and him get it on, then I’ll go on up to 140.
RingTV.com: How is your weight?
BR: I’m okay, you know, if I have to stay at 135 for a while. You know, it’s always a sacrifice. Trust me, I’ll weigh 135. I’ll be at 135. I’ll always be able to make 135.
But my mentality is to fight two or three more fights and then move up to 140. When I don’t train, I walk around at like 155. Other than that, when I start training, I get down to weight really quick.
RingTV.com: How is your wife, Vicky, and how are the kids and how much more importance does having a family place on your role as a fighter?
BR: My daughter is nine months old right now. She’s big, and very healthy. Sort of crazy and hyper like her dad, you know? But that’s Mia. That’s my third child.
Plus, I have a little girl named Leyla, who is eight years old. I have son who is Marcus who is six years old. My biggest kids are from a previous relationship.
It means a lot being a father, because I’ve got lots of mouths to feed. It just build of my confidence and my concentration more that I want to be a world champion.
I want to be one of the greatest and I want to prove everybody wrong. I do it for my kids, because I want them to have a healthy life. I don’t want them to worry about money like I had to.
My family, we lived from pay check to pay check and we had no money for stuff. I don’t want my kids to grow up like that, so I have to do what I have to do as a fighter so that they don’t have to grow up like that.
RingTV.com: Would you allow your son to box, and does he play sports yet?
BR: Well, you know, honestly right now, he does a lot of activities and sports. He’s wrestled, he plays soccer and he hasn’t done boxing. He plays baseball.
But if he wants to start boxing, I’m going to let him do it. If he wants to box, then that’s on him. It’s alright. I’m not necessarily going to recommend it or try to push him into something that I did.
Right now, he’s wrestling and he’s done well at that. He’s doing really good and this is only his first year. The coaches really love him. He’s very hyper and energetic like me and he’s going to be crazy like his dad.
But as fart as boxing, if he wants to do it, that’s great. I want him to do what he’s happiest doing, because whatever that is, I’m always going to be his father.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com