Bradley’s Big Break or Rios’ Big Brakes?

By Marc Livitz on November 8, 2015
Bradley’s Big Break or Rios’ Big Brakes?
Boxing is unlike any other discipline. It’s the ultimate lie detector in all of sports. (Fukuda)

Bradley’s win was all on him and not on the prodding of Atlas or the inability of his opponent to say no to his Achilles Heel…

“Kill the body and the head will die” was a saying often attributed to the late, great “Smokin’” Joe Frazier. Judging by Saturday evening’s main event at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, one combatant may have neglected the body to the point of the head being dead on arrival to the arena. Even more revealing may have been the fact that for as many empty seats in the building which were in plain sight on HBO, Saturday must have been a hell of a day for college football. Hopefully, Tim Bradley’s ninth round knockout victory over the clearly ill prepared and physically irresponsible Brandon Rios could serve as a watershed moment in his career.

It wasn’t his job to stress the importance of a championship fight to Rios while getting himself into peak shape for it. By his own admission after the bout was halted by Tony Weeks, his body did not respond to his satisfaction during training camp in preparation for the bout. We see similar situations at times with professional athletes in other sports. The quarterback spends his summer on a boat chugging beers and gobbling up cheeseburgers. He gets back to football matters and finds that his throwing shoulder is none too appreciative of the months of inactivity. Boxing is unlike any other discipline inasmuch as being the ultimate lie detector in all of sports.

It’s not baseball, where players can show up as well as stay out of shape with a spare tire to compliment them at home plate. The fight game usually calls for a boxer to keep himself in reasonable condition, especially if it is part of his actual vocation, as in it pays the bills. Brandon Rios admittedly brushed off his responsibilities during his down time and looked to use the bulk of his training camp to cut weight and get into decent shape as opposed to developing a plan to beat one of the best welterweights on the planet. Much of the repercussions were evident when Rios showed up for the 147-pound contest weighing 170. Granted, he made the poundage limit the day before, which is what matters going forward.

However, we’re made to wonder what he had to do to get down to the maximum allowed weight as well as what he ingested afterwards to enter the ring weighing almost as much as a light heavyweight about thirty hours later. He was outworked, outgunned and outmuscled by Bradley, seemingly from start to finish on Saturday night before he finally succumbed to the hard truth of hard living. Some of us common folk feel a slight fraction of it on Mondays when we return to our respective workouts after a weekend of partying.

So off into the sunset goes “Bam Bam” Rios (33-3, 24 KOs). He’s had a great career in the ring, although some may say his absolute best was never quite reached. Perhaps his landslide loss to Bradley was karma for mocking trainer Freddie Roach’s affliction with Parkinson’s disease a handful of years ago as Antonio Margarito was in training for face Manny Pacquiao. Margarito led the tasteless display and Rios followed suit. We all remember what Manny did to Antonio’s face back in November 2010.

Still, there’s one more question to ask, yet this one concerns Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1, 13 K’s). In April of 1994, Michael Moorer entered the ring at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as a 2-to-1underdog in his quest to unseat Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight championship of the world. Somehow and to the shock of many, Moorer managed to eke out a majority decision win.

What may be all the more memorable about the win was Moorer’s firebrand trainer who was animated enough to tell his fighter to not return to his corner between rounds unless he gave his best efforts. He further instructed him to ask himself whether he was fighting to win or simply to survive. He even offered to switch places with Moorer and sit on his stool instead of him. Who was this animated trainer? None other than the man who coached Bradley for the first time on Saturday evening, Teddy Atlas. He seems to have a way about him and how he inspires his fighters.

Of course and perhaps unfairly so, many within the boxing media were all too eager to hand Moorer’s upset win to the trainer as opposed to the fighter. Furthermore, Evander Holyfield was found to have a plethora of health issues after the fight. They tried to take his victory away from him. Hopefully, the same won’t be said for Tim Bradley. His win was all on him and not on the prodding of Atlas or the inability of his opponent to say no to his Achilles Heel.

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Tim Bradley vs. Brandon Rios: HBO World Championship Boxing Highlights



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  1. Pete The Sneak 12:15pm, 11/11/2015

    Don from Prov, great point on Garcia…Not to mention how many of his fighters (including Rios) have failed to make fight weight and lost a ton of money/relinquished titles as a result in the not so recent past in some pretty big fights…Peace.

  2. Don from Prov 08:53am, 11/10/2015

    I’d be one of those speculating that Rios never lived up to what potential was in him.  I also wonder, as I do on many occasions, just why Garcia receives so many accolades as a trainer.  Rios was not prepared and Bradley was.
    As far as body work, Rios once understood the concept—
    Now he is a body that needs working on.

  3. Mike Silver 10:49am, 11/09/2015

    Teddy Atlas was the not so secret weapon employed by willing student Timothy Bradley to make Rios look incompetent irrespective of Rios’s weight problems. (Rios’s corner was of no help telling him only to “throw more punches”). To concentrate on Rios’s condition as the main reason he lost is being unfair to Bradley who used old school basic boxing techniques including a very effective body attack (rarely seen today) to defeat him.  Would that other fighters would follow his example in this boxing wasteland of incompetent boxers and trainers.

  4. Pete The Sneak 09:21am, 11/09/2015

    SweetScience, totally agree…Nice KC grudge match between Ortiz/Rios would be well worth the watch…What the heck, why not?...I also agree that Rios comments in his interview before the fight spoke volumes of what was to come…  I mean, you call your wife during training to tell her you no longer have it anymore, and she tells you using the Analogy of. ‘Hey, I get up every morning to go to work, so you should do the same’ just doesn’t cut it as a motivating factor for me… It’s one thing to get up and drive or commute to work cause you have to, it’s another thing when the work you do is getting the shite beating out of you cause ‘you no longer have it.’...Peace.

  5. TheSweetScience 06:31am, 11/09/2015

    Anyone else get the feeling Bam Bam couldnt get himself up for the fact that he lost a few fights before they were even signed, and couldnt get certain chances he was gunning for? His comments about the layoff spoke volumes.
    Anyone else think he should kickstart his heart, with a fight, finally, against victor ortiz? If ever two men wanted to go at it, its these two. A retirement match. Both retireing afterward. And leave it all in the ring…

  6. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:33am, 11/08/2015

    Brandon looked like death warmed over at the weigh in, all the while talking doo doo about still having the fire in his belly to fight….not to beat Tim’s ass, mind you, but to put up a good fight….big difference that. What he really had in his tummy was a raging inferno for that comped seafood buffet.

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