LAS VEGAS, November 7, 2015 – If the impressive version of Timothy Bradley Jr. who showed up Saturday to pound Brandon Rios into retirement had fought Jessie Vargas Jr. in June, Bradley would have wiped the floor with him.
Bradley sent his pugilistic stock soaring with a ninth round knockout win over Rios, landing two wicked body shots to call it a night. It was Bradley’s first knockout in 18 fights and the first since 2011, coming at 2:49 of the round. “I seen I hurt him early to the body, I wanted to get him not thinking about it, then go back down there. I sidestepped, I caught him in the solar plexus, I heard him grunt and he went down,” said Bradley after the match.
Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) dominated Rios (33-3-1, 23 KOs), in an unexpected way. Bradley did not engage in a phone booth brawl with Rios; he didn’t dance around and box him on the fringes either. He said prior to the fight he would be a “Smart Monster” in the ring, fighting smarter but still fighting hard.
True to his word, Bradley came out from the opening bell and showed far more speed, power, defensive skills, and several new tricks courtesy of his new trainer Teddy Atlas. Unlike his 2013 Fight of the Year with Ruslan Provodnikov, he did not stand in front of Rios and present any kind of target. “This is seven weeks into training camp with Mr. Atlas,” said Bradley (and yes, he called Teddy ‘Mr Atlas.’). “I still got a lot to learn, but a lot of things he showed me worked tonight.”
Although Atlas cautioned him against setting up with the left hook lest he leave himself open to a Rios right, Bradley’s left hook was extremely effective both to the head and body. Bradley, perhaps the best conditioned athlete in boxing, was mobile and fast in contrast to a sluggish, slow, overweight Rios. Rios looked as bad against Bradley as Mike Alvarado looked against Rios earlier this year. Rios walked into the ring weighing 170 pounds.
Rios is the type of fighter who can change his fortunes with a single punch, but it was not to be. Longtime trainer Robert Garcia did his best to motivate Rios between rounds, but after eight months away and having barely made weight Friday, he was in no condition to fight this version of Tim Bradley.
By the numbers, Bradley landed 45 percent of his total punch output (254 of 570) to a dismal 18 percent by Rios (81 of 454). The gulf between power punches was even wider: 174 of 325 for Bradley (54 percent) to just 67 of 362 (19 percent) for Rios. Half of those power punches (88) were body shots, including the two that ended the fight.
In hindsight, the decision by Bradley to leave longtime trainer Joel Diaz and hire veteran Teddy Atlas after a six-year absence from training looks like genius. After just seven weeks with Atlas, Bradley said after the bout “We had seven weeks. I wonder what a year would do, I wonder what two years would bring. I got a knockout win against a great champion, a great opponent.”
Atlas said, “The game plan was to take pieces every round. Be like a piranha. Take a piece every round.” Bradley said Atlas had committee to coming back to his next training camp. “The sky’s the limit from here I believe,” said Bradley. Who wouldn’t believe it after his performance Saturday?
In contrast to Bradley’s elation with his win, Rios was dejected in his defeat, and said it was his last fight. He reaffirmed his decision to retire again at the post-fight news conference. “My body is not the same no more, I’ve been in a lot of wars. I think it’s time to hang it up, I’m done. I think that’s it, it is what it is.
“I had a great run … I think it’s time for me to hang up the gloves.” Rios said later it hurts to walk away, but he will now focus on his family. It’s a decision fans should honor and respect. Rios has never given less than everything he had in every fight.
Bradley now has many intriguing options. Super lightweight star Terence Crawford was present at the fight and post-fight news conference. So was Jessie Vargas, who called on Bradley to give him a rematch. Right now, Bradley might be favored in a Pacquiao-Bradley III matchup. It’s going to be an exciting 2016 for Bradley and Atlas.
Baseball season may be over, but WBO featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (5-1-1, 3 KOs) of Ukraine pitched a shutout for 10 rounds against Romulo Koasicha (25-5-0, 15 KOs) of Mexico, right to the point when he ended the fight with two decisive body shots. Referee Robert Byrd counted Koasicha out at 2:35 of Round 10.
Lomachenko is a machine in the ring. Koasicha couldn’t land a thing on him. The CompuBox numbers tell the story of the fight. Lomachenko landed 47 percent of his punches overall (334 of 717), while Koasicha landed just 12 percent (75 of 607). When a boxer lands more than half his power shots, he nearly always wins. Lomachenko landed a mind-blowing 64 percent of his power punches (213 of 334); Koasicha a measly 16 percent (55 of 346).
Everyone watching was well-award this bout served only to keep Loma in front of fans who need to see more of him before he gets the chance to fight bigger name opponents. He might not be the most explosive boxer in the ring, but he is dominant in every way that matters, and every way that gives a boxer a long and successful career.
In a fight earlier in the day in Monte Carlo, welterweight brawler Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) scored an easy TKO victory as predicted against Jesus Rodriguez of Mexico (14-1, 11 KOs). The “Siberian Rocky” might as well have driven a steamroller over Rodriguez. Referee Stanley Christodoulou wisely stopped the bout at 1:40 of the fourth round after Rodriguez went down hard twice. Ruslan Provodnikov says he wants another shot at Bradley too. Get in line.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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