Unpredictable Rios hoping to repair reputation
Brandon Rios has packed more drama into the past few years than many boxers manage in their entire careers.
He added even more Friday when he failed to make weight for his lightweight title fight with Richard Abril.
Rios stepped on the scales at Mandalay Bay Events Center at 137 pounds, two over the lightweight limit. He weighed even more on his second try, which means he won't be allowed to fight for the vacant WBA belt he lost last year - also for missing weight.
Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti said the promoters still will stage the fight, but a $50,000 bonus that would have been paid to the winner now will only be available to Abril.
With a victory, Rios (29-0-1, 21 KOs) expected to earn a shot at Juan Manuel Marquez, who will fight Sergey Fedchenko in Mexico City on Saturday in a split-site pay-per-view doubleheader. Top Rank already had discussed putting Rios and Marquez together in a 140-pound bout at Cowboys Stadium on July 14.
But given Rios' unpredictability, nobody is looking too far past his current bout, even though Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) is a fill-in opponent for fellow Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa, who bailed out of the matchup last month in a contract dispute.
"I'm not letting this unknown coming in and ruining eight years of hard work I put into building my professional boxing career,'' Rios said before harming his own career considerably by missing weight again.
Rios lost his lightweight title on the scales last December, unable to make 135 pounds before facing John Murray. After stopping Murray in the 11th round, Rios immediately went back into training and worked with a nutritionist, claiming he wouldn't have any problem making weight again.
"It was the best decision I ever made,'' Rios said. "I'm a beast. I feel so much more energetic and powerful, and I'm not missing meals. I'm never hungry.''
The hard-partying, free-swearing Rios has made other mistakes, too. He's still known to many boxing fans largely for mocking Freddie Roach in video footage before Manny Pacquiao's fight with Antonio Margarito, who trains alongside Rios in Oxnard, Calif. Roach has Parkinson's disease and suffers from tremors.
Rios has publicly apologized for his behavior toward Roach, yet he has a history of indiscretions, including a two-month jail stint for getting into a fight outside the ring.
Rios and Abril haven't exactly been gentlemanly to each other, either. The fighters have exchanged insults and criticism throughout the promotion, even scuffling at a promotional news conference earlier this week. Their promoters refused to pose them together in Las Vegas for fear of another incident.
"I'm going to break Rios' mouth when we fight,'' Abril said through a translator. "I don't like Rios. He's got a big mouth. Rios is a good fighter. He has a Mexican fighting style, but Saturday is going to be the end for him.''
The 38-year-old Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) will return to the ring in his hometown for the first time since losing another decision to Pacquiao last November in a fight many thought he won. Marquez still is in the running for a fourth fight in the fall with Pacquiao, who faces Timothy Bradley Jr. in June, but must beat his Ukrainian opponent to stay on track.
The disciplined, veteran Marquez had no trouble making the 140-pound limit for his bout.