Trainer Robert Garcia told RingTV.com on Sunday that he expects Brandon Rios to return to the ring on March 3 in an HBO-televised lightweight bout. Last month weight-cutting problems cost Rios the WBA lightweight belt on the scales before the unbeaten slugger scored an 11th-round knockout over John Murray.
The ring return of Rios (29-0-1, 22 knockouts), of Oxnard, Calif., is being targeted for either the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., or the Staples Center in Los Angeles against an opponent to be determined, according to Garcia.
“We know that we will be fighting with Rios on March 3 on HBO, and the word is that it’s going to be here in Los Angeles. We were told that it might be at the Home Depot Center, or maybe at the Staples Center,” said Garcia.
“We don’t have an opponent yet, but I’m sure that [Rios manager] Cameron Dunkin and Top Rank will give us the name soon. But that’s what’s going to happen with Brandon.”
Rios, 25, failed to make the 135-pound weight limit the evening before his Dec. 3 fight with the Murray, of Manchester, England. Rios weighed 146.4 pounds at a 9 a.m. weigh-in the day of the fight in agreement with a deal struck with Murray’s camp.
Although Rios earned the victory, he did so after having to abdicate his WBA title in accordance with organization rules. Rios also had to pay Murray $20,000 for missing weight after three tries on the scale.
Initially, Dunkin told RingTV.com that he will seek counsel on Rios’ weight problems from former BALCO founder Victor Conte, who works with Rios’ managerial stablemate Nonito Donaire and other world-class fighters such as former IBF and WBC welterweight beltholder Andre Berto.
But Garcia told RingTV.com that Rios already has begun working with a nutritionist.
“Brandon’s already in the gym, and we’re working with a special nutritionist who is feeding him every day,” said Garcia. “We’re going to try. If we can do it right, I think that we’re going to the 135-pound weight class a couple of more fights and then go to 140 after that.”
Although Rios will likely rise into the junior welterweight or 140-pound class for the future, Dunkin said he wants to make sure that would be the right move at this time.
“Maybe he can’t make 135 anymore,” said Dunkin. “But we’re going to keep him away from too much fast food and we’re going to have to talk about it.”
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org