Brandon Rios rebounded from back-to-back losses in 2013 with a victory over Diego Chaves on Saturday in Las Vegas but it wasn’t a satisfying victory for him or fans who watched the bout on HBO. Chaves was disqualified by referee Vic Drakulich in Round 9 for repeated fouls.
The scheduled 10-round fight began with fast and furious exchanges — Chaves (23-3, 19 knockouts) was busier and landed the cleaner punches from the outside while Rios (32-2-1, 23 KOs) landed the heavy shots on the inside, especially to the body — however, it was gradually marred by grappling, roughhouse tactics from both fighters and Drakulich’s over-officious refereeing.
The veteran Nevada referee penalized Chaves for excessive holding in Round 3. He docked Rios a point for tossing Chaves to the canvas in Round 5. Drakulich warned both fighters for fouls and rough stuff in Round 6, and warned that he would disqualify one or both of them if they continued.
They continued to fight hard and ugly, causing Rios to repeatedly complain to Drakulich and curse at Chaves, who was penalized a second point for shoving in Round 8.
Drakulich finally had enough and waved the fight off at 1:26 of Round 9, pointing the finger at the 28-year-old Argentine fighter.
At the time of the disqualification, Chaves led on two scorecards by one point. Rios led on the third by one point going into Round 10.
“I don’t know why I was disqualified,” Chaves told HBO’s Jim Lampley after the fight. “I don’t know what I did. I was hit with rabbit punches and shoved by him. It was a dirty fight but he made it dirty. Truthfully, I was hitting him comfortably and schooling him.”
Rios admitted that he had trouble with Chaves’ lateral movement and sharp punches, but said the fouls are what bothered him the most.
“I don’t know if I was winning or not but this is not the way I wanted to win the fight,” Rios, who dropped decision to Mike Alvarado and Manny Pacquiao last year, told Lampley. “Chaves is a good fighter, but come on man, don’t fight dirty. He was just a dirty, ugly fighter.”
A full ringside report from Francisco Salazar will be posted shortly.