WBA lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios would take down once-beaten British contender Johnny Murray on Dec. 3, defeat unbeaten featherweight standout Yuriorkis Gamboa, and then battle junior welterweight contender Marcos Maidana if he had his way.
But first, the 25-year-old Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs), ranked by THE RING as No. 1 in the division, will pursue his 11th win in a row against Murray (31-1, 18 KOs) on the undercard of Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito in an HBO televised rematch at New York's Madison Square Garden.
"I called my trainer, Robert Garcia, this morning and I told him that I feel strong. I feel that, honestly, I'm going to knock Murray out. I'm going to knock him out early," said Rios of Murray, THE RING's No. 8-rated lightweight.
"Then I told him, 'You know what? After that, we should shoot for Gamboa maybe in January or February or as soon as possible.' After we fight Gamboa, I want to go to 140 and I want to fight Marcos Maidana."
The 26-year-old Murray suffered the sole loss of his 32-fight career in July, an eighth-round knockout loss to Kevin Mitchell (32-1, 24 KOs) during which he was floored in the final round.
"What I think about Murray as an opponent is that he likes to go for the slugfests. I think that he's a warrior who wants to brawl like me. So it's going to be a good fight while it lasts," said Rios.
"Hopefully, he's mentally ready for me because he's not going to walk in there and take my title away. It's going to be very tough for him. So hopefully, he brings his 'A' game."
Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum has said that Rios against Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) could be a possibility, particularly since Gamboa and Rios are each promoted by Top Rank Inc.. .
Beyond that match up, Rios said he would like a shot at Maidana (31-2, 28 KOs).
"I want a war, and I think that Maidana's the guy that would give me a war," said Rios. "I think that he would be able to stand in there toe-to-toe with me, and that's exactly what I want."
"Brandon said that he just can't wait to fight somebody like Marcos Maidana, because he knows that that's the only type of fighter who can make a fight like those of the past, you know, like a Castillo-Corrales or a Gatti-Ward," said Garcia.
"I haven't seen this guy fight, but they say that he likes to stand in and fight you toe-to-toe, and that's perfect for Brandon. That's going to make for an exciting night for Brandon, and that's exactly what Brandon wants. Brandon wants to be in one of those wars, those fights that goes 10, 12 rounds."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com