Adios Tony; Bienvenido Bam Bam

By Ted Sares on December 4, 2011
Adios Tony; Bienvenido Bam Bam
Brandon Rios has emerged as a bit of a cutup and quasi bad boy (Al Bello Getty Images)

In some way Brandon Rios is very similar to Margarito and in other ways the differences are stark….

“Brandon Rios is a good young fighter, and I like him for that, and so forth, but as a person, he is an a—.”—Freddie Roach (after reacting to Rios, Garcia, and Margarito mocking Roach’s Parkinson’s during an interview)

“Well, we got a lot of young guys causing buzz…We got ’JuanMa’ [Lopez], [Yuriorkis] Gamboa and [Guillermo] Rigondeaux, who are going to be causing a lot of buzz. But yeah, he’s [Rios] is the one.”—Bob Arum

“I do it for my fans and I do it for my family. I don’t do it for myself. I don’t have the pleasure of waking and losing weight, running. I hate that sh*t but I do it for my family and my fans out there because I want them to have a good time and see that this is me.”—Brandon Rios

“He’s (Victor Ortiz) in his little fantasy world. Only f*ggots surf. He is a wannabe punk rocker…”—Rios

As part of the Oxnard, California gang, Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios has emerged as a bit of a cutup and quasi bad boy, albeit a far more forgivable one than “The Tijuana Tornado.” but he also has emerged as one of boxing’s most exciting fighters. He is a fan favorite because of his unrelenting incoming style and brute power, and he has endeared himself to fans with a string of electrifying outings

If what he did against valiant John Murray (31-2) was done when Bam Bam was out of shape because he couldn’t’ make the weight, God forbid what he does when he trains to begin rumbling at 140. Yes, Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOS) is now headed to the junior welterweight division after this beat down of Murray, and putting on a few extra five pounds should be an enjoyable task for him.

Against the Brit, his unstoppable uppercuts thrown by both hands were reminiscent of a prime Margarito’s (and even a slashing Delvin Rodriguez’s) and were devastating in their accumulative damage. They seemed to be even more punishing in the late rounds, as they busted up Murray’s face into pulp.

Style and Makeup

“I’m very aggressive; I like to come forward a lot. I’ve always been like that—I like to put a lot of pressure on my opponent. But lately, my trainer still lets me put on pressure, but he wants me to box more. So I’m learning boxing now. I’m learning both styles—when I need to fight, I’ll fight. When I need to box, I’ll box.”—Rios

In some way Rios is very similar to Margarito and in other ways the differences are stark. One thing seems certain, however, he IS likely to assume the mantle of leadership of Robert Garcia’s formidable Oxnard gang. Moreover, Brandon will never find himself in the kind of controversy Antonio did, but he’ll fight like the Tornado and that means you will either have to scoop him up or save him from himself because he doesn’t know how to quit. In this respect, both have something that cannot be taught by a trainer; namely TRIPLE AAA HEART. Blood, hideously impaired vision, low blows, or being decked by painful body shots, will not stop them. They’ll get up and keep coming; they’ll fight their way back. Nor will either ever refuse to fight anyone. Floyd Mayweather chose to fight Baldomir. Margarito fought Williams, Clottey and Cotto. Look for Rios will do the same.

Style-wise, Rios stalks stuns and closes like Tony but he starts faster, has more power, and he closes off the ring better. And unlike Tony, he has far more all-around technical skills (he had an astounding amateur record of 230-35) to blend with his propensity to be a warrior. He won the 2004 U.S. championship gold medal in the 125-pound division and earned an alternate position on 2004 U.S. Olympic squad. 

But like other brawlers (Pawel Wolak for one) Rios must be smart enough to avoid putting unnecessary ring mileage on his odometer.

While Tony’s days as an elite fighter are probably over as his options become limited, Brandon’s are just beginning. As he moves up in weight, his options become far more lucrative and names like Timothy Bradley, Marcos Maidana, Amir Khan, and Erik Morales begin popping up. A dream grudge match with Vicious Victor Ortiz is also within the realm of possibility. Ríos claims that while they were growing up in Garden City, Kansas (Rios is a native of Lubbock, TX, and moved to Kansas when he was two), he often got the better of Ortiz during sparring. However, his relationship with Vicious Victor soured after an incident involving Brandon, Victor, and Victor’s younger brother, Temo. There are other more complicated subplots that account for the bad feeling between Ortiz and the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy but they are best treated in a separate article. Suffice it to say that Bam Bam has many things to say about Victor and 99% are obscene, as political correctness in not Brandon’s strong suit.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

HBO Boxing: Anthony Peterson vs. Brandon Rios Highlights (HBO)

Brandon Rios vs Urbano Antillon - Part 1 of 2

Brandon Rios vs Urbano Antillon - Part 2 of 2

BRANDON RIOS shreds Ortiz "I'll fight him at 147" talks Mayweather vs Ortiz (TRUE HD)

Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios VS Miguel Acosta - (1/3)

Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios VS Miguel Acosta - (2/3)

Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios VS Miguel Acosta - (3/3)

In The Ring With Brandon Rios

Brandon Rios | Jorge Luis Teron 1/2

Brandon Rios | Jorge Luis Teron 2/2

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  1. "Old Yank" Schneider 05:10pm, 12/06/2011

    Big Boss Man—I’m agreeing with you.  Alvarado will be next for Rios.

  2. Big Boss Man 02:59pm, 12/06/2011


  3. "Old Yank" Schneider 01:20pm, 12/06/2011

    Rios is a Top Rank fighter.  Alvarado is a Top Rank fighter.  Maidana is a Golden Boy fighter.  ‘Nuf said?

  4. "Old Yank" Schneider 01:11pm, 12/06/2011

    It will be Alvarado.  Bank on it.

  5. Big Boss Man 10:32am, 12/06/2011


    Rios would easily beat Alvardo based on styles.

    Stay away fron JJM, but Maidana would be a war.

  6. Big Boss Man 10:30am, 12/06/2011

    Rios says: “Hopefully we could get [Marquez]. If we fight with him, that’d be great. If not, there’s Maidana or someone like that there. I want a war.”

  7. "Old Yank" Schneider 08:13am, 12/06/2011

    Tex—For Margarito, from 2005 through 2008 (up to the Mosley bout), he had a stoppage ratio of 75% (6 stoppages in 8 bouts).  Once getting caught loading, his stoppage ratio fell to ZERO!  NADA!  0%!  WOW!

  8. "Old Yank" Schneider 07:54am, 12/06/2011

    Tex—Rios is “in” and Margarito is “out” just as the thresher suggests. Since getting caught attempting to load his gloves, Margarito has been KO’ed by Mosley, backed up by the relatively unknown and relatively untested Roberto Garcia, schooled and badly beaten up by Pacquiao and schooled and beaten up by Cotto.  Between Mosley, Pacquiao and Cotto, it would not be outrageous to suggest/argue that he might not have even won a single round.  If ever night and day, black and white existed in observed difference in Margarito’s ability to hurt an opponent before and after getting caught loading, I don’t know how a more definitive contrast could exist. Tex, Margarito is NOT the same fighter he was before getting caught with plaster in his hands. Cotto in the post-fight press conference asked the press and the public to come to their own conclusions about the question of if Margarito loaded-up for their first bout. I’d need to disbelieve my own eyes to conclude that Margarito was clean for their first bout. We are absolutely on the same page here. But the point of this article should NOT be lost. The stalk, stun and kill style is boxing entertainment at its best and the thresher has nailed it in so much as Margarito will not be missed because Rios fills the vacuum quite nicely.

  9. TEX HASSLER 06:38am, 12/06/2011

    Rios creates some much needed excitement in boxing that is greatly needed. Let us just hope he starts taking training seriously as he can only go so far on natural abilbity. He will not last long unless he learns some boxing skill. Margarito’s career will also be looked on with doubt as to his ability because we will never know how many fights he cheated on with loaded gloves.

  10. "Old Yank" Schneider 06:44pm, 12/05/2011

    raxman—Remember, the CSAC official did not catch Margarito getting the loads wrapped into his hands.  I suspect Richardson was doing what Richardson does and attempted to get under Margarito’s skin with complaints about the wraps and was just as shocked as anyone when the loads fell out.

  11. The Thresher 03:34pm, 12/05/2011

    Rax, I have a virus on my computer so I’m using my wife’s. A little slow.

    Bam Bam is a brute in there and has more skills than most. You combine those two attibutes and you have a monster. Plus he has a mean streak. He was smiling as Murray’s face turned into red pulp. He also smiles when the bell rings and he comes back to his corner. He is a one-of-a kind and is one mean hombre.

  12. raxman 02:44pm, 12/05/2011

    Ted - as you know i’m a big bam bam fan - and we’ve discussed what tricks from his amateur days he has yet to introduce to his pro career and how he may shock us with his boxing skills.
    that said i was a little disappointed in his performance on the weekend. he looked sluggish to me, and his timing seemed to be off - i didnt know until after the fight that he had lost his title on the scales.
    i guess it was good the way he stuck at it. re his uppercuts he used one of those old school coaches moves where he started off just by touching them. i remember the old timers saying just touch the uppercut (same with the body shots) - just touch them, and as you do you’ll find your timing and technique and then the power will follow. you’ll remember Ward doing the same thing vs shea nery - just kept touching the left until it became a knock blow.

    although just touching for bam bam rios is like a loaded punch for most i think it explains why his uppercuts got harder - what you think?

  13. raxman 02:37pm, 12/05/2011

    Yank - you may well be right - margarito may have always had plaster in his gloves - although wouldnt it be unlikely that richardson was the only one to catch it? if you want a reason for what happened to the margarito from the old days - well thats the thing about the old days, there the old days. that tony was the tony before he had a year off, before he got the worst 12 round beat down i’ve seen for years. plenty of fighters have grown old overnight without having been caught cheating and having an advantage taken away.

  14. the thresher 11:54am, 12/05/2011

    Thanks Prov

  15. Don from Prov 07:06am, 12/05/2011

    Good, straightforward and well composed writing, Mr. Sares.  That you could manage to engage about one of the Oxnard gang without using sexist language and resorting to a shrill, strange (Merchant-like) hatred of or condescension toward fighters, especially for being one who refuse to quit shows. ... Why it just shows that you are a very good writer who loves the sport of boxing and the brave warriors who put their lives on the line while competing in the ring.  Yet, it is still refreshing to know that there are a number of fine practitioners of good journalism on this up and coming site.  I hope they continue to drown out the strained, self-promoting (and congratulating), voices of frustrated wannabes who have sunk other sites.  Good work once again.

  16. "Old Yank" Schneider 09:34pm, 12/04/2011

    Was Margarito really a stalk, stun and kill fighter?  Or was it just the plaster talking?  What the hell happened to the stun and kill part of “stalk, stun and kill” following Margarito getting caught with plaster in his gloves?  Brandon Rios looks like the read deal to me and Margarito should now look like an obvious fake to anyone willing to allow their own eyes to be proof enough!

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