NEW YORK– Brandon Rios, THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight, lost his WBA title and $20,000 to challenger John Murray on Friday night without even throwing a punch or entering the ring for Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised clash.
Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs) failed to make the contracted 135-pound weight limit after three tries on the scale, an infraction that costs the Oxnard, Calf., resident his title in accordance with WBA rules.
In addition, Rios, who weighed 136.4, 135.6, and, 136.6, respectively, over three separate attempts within an hour, must weigh no more than 10 pounds (147) more when he is checked at 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturday at his hotel in accordance with a deal that was struck with Murray’s camp.
If Rios complies, the fight will go on, but Rios will have vacated his belt. In addition, $20,000 of Rios’ $325.000 purse will go to the Murray (31-1, 18 KOs), for whom a victory will earn the vacated title.
Murray’s original purse is $50.000, plus additional upside money from United Kingdom television pay per view.
Rios-Murray, if it happens, will take place on the undercard of the anticipated Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito rematch at Madison Square Garden.
“So they’ve made a deal that’s fair, and it comes down to the two fighters at the end of the day. It’s what both camps feel comfortable with, and they’re all gentlemen. You hope that they act as gentlemen. You feel bad that he loses on the scale,” said Top Rank Inc. President Todd duBoef.
“But it doesn’t mean that he’s [Rios] not a great action fighter and a fighter you want to see. On the other end, John’s not going to be deprived, and he’s actually making more money now. You just probably wish that the authenticty of a world title would have been there and that everybody was right on 135.”
Although Murray acknowledged that a weakened Rios could help his chances, he said that the development won’t change his gameplan.
“I think that may play to my advantage, but I’m just going to concentrate on myself. I’ll let him worry about himself. I’m just going to stay on my game and do my business. I’m not upset at all. I’m just focused on doing my business tomorrow night,” said Murray, who weighed 134.75 pounds.
“We had already prepared to take him into the deep waters. This is a great opportunity for a guy like me. Fights like this are the fights that I want. I want to be in the center of the ring, hammering away to see who is going to be left standing, him or me.”