Desert Storm Blows Away Rios

By Robert Ecksel on November 7, 2015
Desert Storm Blows Away Rios
Bradley looked great, but Rios is for all intents and purposes shot. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

With Teddy Atlas in his corner, Bradley was a different fighter, more focused, more disciplined, unmistakably new and vastly improved…

Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, WBO World welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs), from Palm Springs, California, successfully defended his title by knocking out Brandon Rios (33-3-1, 14 KOs), from Oxnard, California, at 2:49 of round nine.

Fighting out of the red corner in black trunks with orange and tan trim, Bradley scored his first KO since 2011. With Teddy Atlas in his corner, having replaced longtime trainer Joel Diaz, Bradley was a different fighter, more focused, more disciplined, unmistakably new and vastly improved.

Rios, fighting out of the blue corner in white trunks, said he was retiring after the fight. His difficulties in making weight, which is an indication of his lack of discipline, may have finally caught up with him and this time for good.

Bradley asserted his superiority at the opening bell. He was landing jabs. He was landing combinations. He was landing hooks. He was landing uppercuts and body shots. Bradley was also moving beautifully, darting in and out, not engaging, boxing smart but also boxing assertive. Rios was eating punches, lots of punches, which is what Rios does.

Between rounds Atlas told the champ, “I don’t need you to get greedy. I don’t need four punches. I need two or three and get outside.”

Bradley landed 34 of 71 punches thrown in round one to 7 of 40 for Rios.

Rios was busier in the second. He was no less slow and didn’t move his head, but at least he let his hands go. Bam Bam landed a right and nice shot to the body on the inside. Bradley took it, Bradley always takes it, but unlike Rios he didn’t just stand there, he fought back.

According to CompuBox, Bradley landed 28 of 48 to 12 of 61 for Rios in round two.

Rios had his moments in the third round. He was the aggressor. He was applying pressure. But Bradley kept his cool. He was sharp. He was disciplined. He was slowly was surely breaking Rios down. Still, as good as Bradley looked, he didn’t appear that much different than Bradley at his best. So much had been made of Teddy Atlas and the seven weeks he had worked with Bradley, I was beginning the fear that the Amen Choir of boxing writers might have inadvertently jinxed the fighter and his new trainer.

But it was not to be.

Bradley swept rounds four through seven landing hard shots to the body and head. Whenever Rios moved forward to deliver punches of his own, Bradley stepped around him and countered beautifully. Rios’ graceless footwork helped, somewhat, and perhaps when Bradley understood that Rios, while still a dangerous fighter was nevertheless a fighter on the skids, he was able to put Teddy’s instructions into play, which made him all the more effective.

Robert Garcia’s entreaty to Rios, “You’ve got to throw more punches,” fell on deaf ears. It wasn’t that Rios didn’t want to throw more punches. It was that he couldn’t throw more punches. A quintessential face-first fighter, Rios has been unintelligible for a long time. He is now, alas, after watching him struggle against Bradley, a spent force, an officially shot fighter.

Bradley was bouncing punches off Rios’s head in the eighth. The Oxnard native was no longer smiling and smirking at Bradley’s lack of power. He was enduring a beating and it wasn’t pretty. Bradley, however, was superb, a rejuvenated fighter moving side to side and outpunching his game but diminished foe.

Between rounds eight and nine, Garcia turned to pleading. “Let’s go. C’mon, Brandon. You’re disappointing everyone. You’re not doing nothing.”

In the opposite corner, Atlas told Bradley, “He needs your help to win this fight. Control the action. Let your hands go.”

Bradley did as instructed in the ninth. Forty seconds into the round, he landed several body shots that put Rios on the canvas. He was up at nine. No sooner had the referee wiped his gloves than Bradley unloaded several more body shots that put Rios down again. Tony Weeks had seen enough. We had all seen enough.

After the fight Rios said, “I had a wonderful career. I think it’s time to hang up my gloves. I’m not giving it my all and I don’t want to take beatings for no reason. I love this sport so much that it’s hard to turn away from it. But when it’s time to hang it up it’s time to hang it up and the time is now.

“I’m not going to fool myself and make myself look like a jackass and get beat up. I can live life now. I made it further than anybody thought I would. I proved everyone wrong.”

It was a sad end for Brandon Rios.

It was a joyous resurrection for Timothy Bradley.

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  1. MayMoneyman 05:57pm, 11/08/2015

    Rios is a shot fighter with all the wars he had. Bradley is the same fighter it’s just that Rios is not anymore the same. Hope Money will come out from retirement and will give Bradley a schooling.

  2. Koolz 03:55pm, 11/08/2015

    Could care less what Bradley does but my GOD Lomachenko!  Master class display I think of only three fighters that could possible win some rounds against him.  Roman Gonzalez, Naoya Inoue, and Estrada.  Walters maybe.

    That was just such amazing Boxing from Lomachenko!  Truly beautiful to watch!

    No write up on Lomachenko?  Not impressed.

  3. Eddie Willis 05:40am, 11/08/2015

    The Sweet Science: Can’t you just let Bradley revel in his victory before you start telling us how little you think of him?  It’s not a particularly intelligent or objective analysis, its downright denigration of a tremendously dedicated fighter and a fine person who does everything right in his personal and professional life. Come on Keyboard Warrior, ease up, calm down, cut the guy some slack and don’t be such a nabob of negativism.

  4. Darrell 01:46am, 11/08/2015

    @TheSweetScience…...your incoherent rant is obviously a veiled raspberry towards Bradley.  OK, Bradley got a decision over your demi-god Pacquiao, let it go, it was years ago.  True, Rios overachieved despite his grouped Achilles heel of lack of speed, thought & dietary discipline but it surely doesn’t warrant denigration of Bradley…...who was rather excellent tonight.

  5. TheSweetScience 12:36am, 11/08/2015

    It was sad, hard to watch. When i first saw rios, i didt like him. He just didnt sit right with me. That went away quicker than i thought, and rios became one of thr guys i saw with class, as well as wit. He is an honest guy, with honest will.
    You can classlesly break the man apart, as most supporters of the “new” desert storm would (which its funny to me, to hate on bradley, as turn cheek this quickly when a tv analyst re-becomes a corner man to save a drowning fighter at the time. Like rios is now. How timely). I get it. After tonights performance, i see why and how.
    But the thing that befuddles me… I know rios and alvarado were born to fight one another. They made one another look legend-like in the ring together. Styles make fights, but theirs made true wars.one would think, does that make them clumsy, graceless opponents since they only look good against one another? I say i. Alvarado… Yes. Rios… No!! Have we not seen that he actually has ring i.q. ... Against talented guys like acosta? Bradley is truly like pacquiao. Just without the god-likeness in persona. And without the power. Bradley power was not thr force to finally put to canvas, a rios that takes punches with a jack-o-lantern, bloody, smiley, tongue. It was rios’s wars that put him down. You have to thank him for that, hence he fought in an age that many feel has tainted boxing. He warred in a war-less era. He did make it further than anyone ever expected. THATS what caught up with him. Not his lack of footwork. Yes alvarado is truly shot, but did we not see the speedy, furious fighter in rios, that was all over ‘rado like a swarm of bees? The thing that leaves me scratching my head (not a rios loss, i knew that boxing gods would make that hammer come down here), but was it not a mere 8 months ago that rios looked like a menacing rager again? His body cant capture that again? This we do not know. But what i do know, there is a place for the bam bams of the world, where though the footwork they do not magically possess, but they make up for it in other drastic areas. The only fighters that destroyed rios’s engaging ways, were pacquiao, chavez, bradley. All similarly styled fighters. I believe rios has a place against other styles still. This was the same exact rios that came to fight manny. I said to my dad by the third round, bam bam has layed down his gloves, the same demeanor as vs pacquiao. I bet that even crossed bam bams mind. And sadly, he succumbed to it. That alone is a black mark, but i get confused when two different boxers show up within only months of one another, that made me wonder is he is done, or if his will was hurt. Just like when he bawled after the pacquiao fight. Cuz he trained so hard for so long, only to show up flat. That has to hurt. And to see the tears tonight, make me wish that this essay would have portrayed him a bit differently. It doesnt take but one fight for essays to go from tearing a man apart, to building his legacy back up, just like the desert storm now. Hats off to him for grabbing his place. Doing exactly what the styles this night were called upon to do. I cradit him for that. But i do basically promise, if bradley fights canelo, the following essays will not be far off fro the way a man with heart like rios, are portaying him now. Bradley pitter pats too much. Rios took a knee cuz of one too many tacos, and ten too many wars. The pitter pat will be massively exposed, if the desert storm is to meet the man they call cinnemon…

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