Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley closed the show against Brandon Rios in a major way by tripling his punches landed compared to Rios. The HBO World Championship Boxing main event took place at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This was Bradley’s first fight under the tutelage of Teddy Atlas, the trainer Bradley acquired after parting ways with Joel Diaz. Rios, on the other hand, had been fairly inactive since his early 2015 win against Mike Alvarado.
Bradley was super offensive in the early going and really overwhelmed Rios with fits of aggression. Rios was being dominated from just the offensive output, but Rios was able to cement an offense from inside the phone booth, although Bradley handled himself well in the close range. Bradley landed a couple of very meaningful shots, including a devastating body shot that truly seemed to have an effect on Rios.
The activity in the second round was more or less what we were hoping to see between Bradley and Rios. Rios was not afraid to get hit as long has he could position himself for his own offense and Bradley was able utilize his favorable skills and athleticism over Rios. However, Bradley stayed in the pocket a little longer than he needed to and Rios looked to be the more advantageous fighter at certain points.
Rios was able to get off a couple open shots that generated a huge response from the crowd, but more importantly it snapped back the head of Bradley.
Rios, in the 3rd round, was desperate to change the tone of the fight.
Bradley appeared to be the better fighter, but Rios was finding ways to keep the fight within his realm and bait Bradley into unnecessary exchanges. The body work Bradley was putting in was solid, although it was more quality over quantity.
There were moments of back and forth in the fight, especially in the 4th round. The back and forth action wasn’t what we were accustomed to because instead of the fighters exchanging one for one and neither fighter cementing momentum, they would both fight their fight for a moment and then relinquish to the other.
Bradley was starting to take over in the fight and was able to slowly but surely gain a sustainable momentum. The fight would come down to whether or not Rios could break up Bradley’s rhythm before he sustained it long enough to completely take over the fight, but it would be for the pure purpose of not getting dominated and it was becoming less likely that Rios could swing the momentum completely in his favor.
Still, Rios was trying to fight his fight and he was making some decent stands along the way. But he was not able to get around the major skill and athleticism differences between him and Bradley.
Bradley continued to tattoo the body and head and was stringing together impressive combinations. He began to utilize his jab in a more versatile manner.
Rios seemed to get more frustrated as the fight wore on and Teddy Atlas became more irate and theatrical even though his fighter was dominating.
Atlas’ screaming triggered something in Bradley in between round 7 and 8, and Bradley came out much more focused, although his focus was never weak enough to see him out of the fight. But instead of being super angry and aggressive, Atlas’ words sparked a more cerebral version of Bradley than we had seen from him in several rounds.
In the 9th round, Bradley landed a hard right hand that got through and then followed it up with a hard left hand to the body that had a delayed reaction on Rios, sending him to the canvas, this after Bradley thoroughly dominated the rest of the round. Rios got to his feet only to be stopped moments later, dropping to the canvas from a relentless body attack from Bradley.
Bradley won the victory and his first fight under Atlas was a success. Questions remain whether or not the new fighter-trainer partnership will elevate Bradley against higher level competition, but they are certainly on the right path.
Rios announced his retirement in the post-fight interview and cited his long layoff as part of the frustrations and poor performance.