“Brandon Rios? That’s what a heavyweight needs is that determination. You don’t see that,” former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney once said of Rios after watching him fight. “He finds a way. He makes the adjustment. He’s just a tough guy who has will and he wasn’t going to fold.”
Rios (31-2-1, 23 knockouts) will attempt to regain the fire he once had when he returns to action against hammer-fisted Diego Chaves (23-1, 19 KOs) on August 2 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“This is my biggest fight because I must win against a very strong fighter in Diego Chaves,” said Rios, 28. “I am restarting my career by doing the things I did in camp when I was winning.”
Rios is 1-2 with one knockout in his past three fights and is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao in his welterweight debut in November.
Prior to facing Pacquiao, Rios lost by unanimous decision to Mike Alvarado in a March 2013 rematch of Rios’ seventh round stoppage win over Alvarado from October 2012.
“I pushed everything behind me, including the fight with Pacquiao,” said Rios. “I like to win. That’s what the game is all about. I promise I will win on August 2.”
Chaves will be fighting on American soil for only the third time against Rios but has scored knockouts in his past six victories. Chaves debuted in Las Vegas with a six-round unanimous decision over Edvan Dos Santos Barros at the Hard Rock Hotel in March 2010 but was floored once each in the ninth and final rounds of a 10th-round knockout loss to Keith Thurman in San Antonio in July 2013.
Chaves rebounded from the Thurman loss in February when he stopped Juan Alberto Godoy in the third round.
Rios’ career has included a DQ win over then-undefeated Anthony Peterson in September 2010. In succession during 2011, Rios earned the WBA lightweight crown in February with a come-from-behind 10th round stoppage of Miguel Acosta, then scored knockouts of Urbano Antillon and John Murray in the third and 11th rounds in July and December, respectively.
Rios ended a 19-fight winning streak for Acosta, whom he floored during the sixth, eighth and last round of the fight.
But Rios lost his WBA title, as well as $20,000, on the scales for failing to make weight the night before his fight against Murray.
Although Rios switched nutritionists for his bout with Richar Abril, he won a disputed split decision victory many thought he had truly lost.
“I am going into a new direction – no more strength-and-conditioning coaches. I won before without them and I am going to do it again,” said Rios, who lists, among his idols, Mexican great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and the late, hard-punching Diego Corrales.
“I am putting myself in the hands of the greatest trainer, Robert Garcia. Fans are going to see the old ‘Bam Bam’ – the one one who always won his fights.”
Note: Quotes provided by Lee Samuels of Top Rank.