Rios, THE RING’s No. 1 lightweight, is coming off 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 to take the be title from Miguel Acosta (28-4-2, 22 KOs) in February.
Rios dropped Acosta during the sixth, eighth and last rounds on the way to ending a 19-fight winning streak that had included 12 stoppages.
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.
“If you’re not prepared, you’re in for an early night. Even if you are prepared, you’re still in for an early night,” Rios told Murray. “In the ring, there’s no friends. Outside of the ring, yeah, I’ll talk to you and shake your hands after that, but not during fightweek.”
SEBASTIAN LUJAN: MIKE JONES’ ‘TOUGHEST OPPONENT’
During a recent video interview, promoter Russell Peltz called Argentina’s Sebastian Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KOs) potentially the most difficult opponent in the career of unbeaten Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones (25-0, 19 KOs).
The 28-year-old Jones will meet Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KOs) for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s ratings, with the winner meeting IBF No. 2-rated Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for the organization’s belt that was recently vacated by Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs).
“It’s a big fight. Probably the toughest fight we’ve had so far, Sebastian Lujan,” said Peltz. “It could even be tougher than fighting Randall Bailey for the title, I’m not really sure.”
In victory over Lujan, Jones had even been mentioned as a potential opponent for RING No. 1-rated pound for pound fighter Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs).
But Peltz was even more emphatic concering Lujan as an opponent during Thursday’s undercard press conference.
“We’re not in the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes,” said Peltz. “We’re in the Sebastian Lujan sweepstakes.”
Jones is coming off a second-round knockout of Raul Munoz, which was accomplished in June before his hometown fans at the South Philly Arena. Prior to Munoz, Jones battled through consecutive majority and unanimous decisions over Jesus Soto Karass in February and June.
“[Lujan is] much better than Jesus Soto-Karass. Just as sturdy. It’s the kind of fight you’re going to have to win if you’re going to fight for a world title,” said Peltz.
Jones stands 6-foot tall, giving him a six-inch advantage in height over the 5-foot-6 Lujan, who has won 12 straight bouts, including six by knockout, and is coming off a ninth-round knockout of Mark Melligan in July.
Lujan spent time training alongside Margarito as well as Soto Karass in preparation for Jones.
“That was very, very good training for me, especially sparring with Margarito. In training camp, Soto Karass helped me out a lot. We sparred with Brandon Rios too,” said Lujan.
“My opponent will have to be very well prepared to be able to handle me. Jones can say anything that he wants. At the end of the night, it’s just going to be me and him in that ring together.”