Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios is a boxing’s fans fighter, both in and out of the ring. In an interview live on-air with The Boxing Voice’s panel, as well of thousands of hardcore fans and listeners, the former lightweight titleholder spoke candidly about his feelings, frustrations and relationship with his promoter Top Rank, Inc.
Just as he does when he fights in the ring, Rios wasted no time and came out swinging after the opening question by Nestor Gibbs, “What’s going on with the life of Brandon Rios?”
“The life of Brandon Rios is, there ain’t sh– going on,” Rios chuckled bitterly. “That’s the sh– that sucks. I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting. After a great performance I thought I’d be back in the ring right away. It only went three rounds, and I wasn’t hurt or nothing but its eight months later and there still ain’t shit.”
Rios (33-2-1, 24 KO’s) made his name in the sport rising through the lightweight ranks, winning the WBA lightweight title with a 10th round TKO over Miguel Acosta in 2011. He enhanced his warrior reputation going to hell and back with “Mile High” Mike Alvarado in a three-fight series that saw him beat his nemesis into submission after seven rounds in 2012 and only three rounds in their rubber match last January.
Although Rios lost his lightweight title on the scales for his fight with Richard Abril in 2012, Rios moved up a division to throw hands with an undefeated fighter, one who fought on the undercard of Rios-Abril, “Mile High” Mike, who was 33-0 when they first met in 2012. It was a textbook Rios performance where he brawled and out-balled his way to victory.
Since then he dropped a unanimous decision in their rematch in 2013, was out-gunned and out-classed in a Pacquiao comeback fight and looked sluggish to say the least in his DQ win over Diego Chaves in 2014. Then came his first fight in 2015 where finally vanquished Alvarado and looked like a renewed fighter in doing so.
The final Alvarado fight was Rios’ last ring appearance. However, his Spartan mentality left him thirsty for another war. He heard propositions from his manager Cameron Dunnkin and promoter Top Rank about a possible November clash with fellow bulldozer Ruslan Provodnikov.
“I can’t give you a percentage or nothing (on that fight being made) because I don’t even know,” Rios exclaimed. “The way Top Rank has been doing my sh—is: I’ve been wanting to fight, and they said, ‘Oh you got a fight, you got a fight,’ and it comes that month, no fight . . . So I’m not even sure if I’m even fighting.”
Rios is the kind of fighter who is relentless, holding nothing back and leaves everything in the ring, and he utilizes the same strategy in his interviews. He is as subtle as a gun. “Bam Bam” was asked by Tha Boxing Voice’s panel if his manager was at fault for his inactivity during what he calls his “prime” years.
“I don’t blame nothing on Cameron; I blame it on the representative, which is Top Rank,” Rios said. “They are not doing their job like their supposed to. They’re supposed to look out for their guy that’s fighting for them and that’s willing to fight. Not the one that’s giving them problems . . . not the one that’s telling them do this or do that for them. The guy that wants to fight, they’re sitting him on the sidelines.”
Rios’ frustration crackled in his voice and insisted that while he waited to be scheduled a fight, his promoter was too busy focusing on “the Manny Pacquiao situation”; in which the former eight-division world champ lost the bust of the century against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pacquiao faced criticism and lawsuits after claiming a shoulder injury hindered his performance in May and as a result Top Rank focused time on damage control for Pacquiao instead of getting a fight for Rios.
“Am I little upset?” Rios expressed, “Yes. It just sucks.”
Rios was also asked if he is considering jumping ship from Top Rank to look for another handler who can offer more options.
“It’s a part of business,” Rios said. “Sometimes the other business doesn’t do good no more, and they’ve done everything they can do and now it’s time to move on. But we don’t know. . . right now it’s just one of those things where I’m in a predicament where I got to wait and say ‘what the f—,’ because I do have a contract with Top Rank, so it’s just one of those things where we got to wait around and see. But am I happy with them right now? No. Because how they have been treating me and I’ve been loyal to those guys, and I did everything they told me to do.”
Rios even went as far as to say that he would be willing to move up in weight in search for a fight, although he is relatively new to the welterweight division with only three fights.
“It seems like that’s what they (Top Rank) want me to do,” Rios snarled. “I ain’t scared; I’ll go to 154 and fight a f—— big guy. I don’t give a f—, he bleeds like I bleed, he sh– like I sh–, I don’t give a f— I’ll fight a guy at 154.”
Rios is fighting in November but not against Provodnikov. Instead, he recently signed a deal to fight pound-for-pound star Timothy Bradley Jr. at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
While Bradley (32-1-1, 12 Ko’s) is not a pay-per-view star, he undoubtedly has the best resume at 147 pounds who isn’t Mayweather or Pacquiao.
Bradley is a freakishly conditioned athlete who possesses amazing boxing ability, but he has been dragged into slugfests before against former junior welterweight champs Jesse Vargas and Provodnikov. He won both of those bouts but took unnecessary punishment to do so. The question is, can his body withstand another firefight with a pressure fighter like Rios?
Rios like many fighters has had his share of controversial moments, again, both in and out of the ring. He was given what many people thought was a gift decision in his last fight as a lightweight against Abril, and he received harsh criticism for a video interview where he mocked boxing guru Freddie Roach, imitating Roach’s disability, Parkinson’s disease.
Rios is not a perfect person and is certainly not a perfect fighter. His style is more chaotic than methodical, but what is agreed is that he is undeniably an all-action fighter who is incredibly fun to watch at his best and should not be sitting on the sidelines. He said that he would rather not face another Cameron Dunkin fighter like himself which includes the likes of Vargas and Terence Crawford.
However he is probably getting more money to face Bradley instead, and there is still the aforementioned fight with Provodnikov that can be made win, lose or draw.
What is good for Rios and boxing is that Top Rank finally came through. He has a fight against a top name, in what should be a good scuffle, and he’ll have the chance to bring home another paycheck to put food on the table for his wife and five kids.
(note: this interview is linked at the top and takes place before the announcement of the Bradley-Rios fight.)