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Feb. 26, 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada  —  Brandon Rios knocks out  Miguel Acosta in the 10th round to win the WBA World Lightweight title on Saturday night at Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas.  — Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank 

The early going was rough for Brandon Rios in the main event from the Palms in Las Vegas which ran on Showtime Saturday night. It was looking through the first four rounds like the 24-year-old was in a bit over his head, like he'd stepped up a bit too far, like Freddie Roach had done him in with some voodoo. But he kept coming forward, and broke down the WBA lightweight champion Miguel Acosta. Rios scored knockdowns in the sixth  and eighth, and with a couple doozy right hands in the tenth, sent Acosta to the floor for good.

The end came at 1:14 of the tenth, and the victor let loose with a scream to the heavens when it sunk it that the belt would be his. After, Rios told Jim Gray that “I'm a late bloomer..in the late rounds I get stronger and stronger.” He admitted that he learned just how good his chin is now, after eating some nasty Acosta blows. He said he'd be ready for anyone, whoever his promoter Bob Arum put in front of him. Arum said he was a star, and would consider a rematch with Acosta, but down the round.

Acosta told Gray that “Rios has power.” He said that after the first knockdown, he felt dizzy and couldn't recuperate.

Rios went 190-454, while Acosta was 156-464 in total punches.

Acosta's WBA 135 pound title was up for grabs. The judges on hand were Adelaide Byrd, Dick Houck and CJ Ross, and they all saw it 86-83 for Rios through nine complete.

Acosta (age 32; 28-3-2 entering; from Venezuela; coming in with 19 straight wins) weighed  134 1/2 pounds in his first title defense, while  Rios (age 24; 26-0-1 with 18 KOs entering; from Oxnard, CA) was 134 1/2 pounds.

Rios, who admits he is a loose cannon, and who dipped himself into a pot of hot water when he mocked Freddie Roach's tremors from Parkinsons on a video which went mega viral before the Pacquiao-Margarito fight, was looking to try and make his in-ring work help restore his rep.

In the first, a counter right by Acosta right away. A right clipped Rios a minute in, and bang, another one landed pretty flush. The challenger came forward, but we wondered how long he would, or frankly, if this thing would go long. Acosta features a lively defensive style, and is hard to pinpoint as his head movement is rapid and frequent.

In the second, Rios wanted to crowd Acosta, who owns nimble feet. With his gloves glued to his face, Rios left himself out of position to fire quite often.

In the third, Acosta stayed mobile, and Rios came forward. But he ate a few rights, and reeled back, buzzed, in the last ten seconds.

In the fourth, Acosta got it done from the outside, as he was able to get full extension and sting Rios. Rios was now backing up, by the middle of the round. The vet showed his experience, as he didn't get over-enthused as he had his way with Rios. The kid ate left hooks to the body, and crackerjack rights in the round. This was an education, boxing style, that would leave bruises and bumps galore in the days following.

In the fifth, Rios stayed in the game, stayed in attack mode. Acosta has the heavier hands, though Rios had more moments than in rounds previous.

In the sixth, Acosta went down with two minutes to go, off a left hook to the neck, and a followup jab. This was the Rios who opened out eyes last year, against Anthony Peterson. Acosta got his legs back some, but continued to eat Rios shots when trapped on the ropes. His cutman worked on a slice on his right eye after the round. His corner told him to tie up because Rios has power.

In the seventh, Acosta's movement, which earlier looked like it would be his best asset, read like a deficiency. Rios was in stalking mode. But the champ's effort looked more like the first three rounds rather than the difficult sixth.

In the eighth, we saw further evidence that Rios has a stellar chin. He ate a bomb, then answered and sent Acosta to the mat for the second time with 35 seconds remaining. The telling blow was a left hook, which looked like it got some help from fatigue. Acosta's corner told him to hold when he got buzzed, strangely, since that doesn't seem to be in his arsenal.

In the ninth, Acosta went to the floor, from fatigue, thirty seconds in. The stalker Rios  wasn't as bothered by Acosta's punches, which had lost a bunch of steam. He laid on the ropes, working, but leaving himself open to getting tagged. This was a helluva round, you won't see many busier over the course of a year.

In the tenth, Rios sent Acosta to the mat, for the third and final time. Two vicious rights had him down and his corner was in the ring with a towel.

In  the TV opener, Antonio DeMarco (from Los Mochis, Mexico; age 25; a loser in a world title crack, against Edwin Valero in Feb. 2010; No. 1 in WBC) won a UD12 over Reyes Sanchez (from Mexico City; age 25; No. 2 in WBC; sporting a pink Mohawk with a white skunk tail). This lightweight bout took place in Grand Island, Nebraska.

The judges saw it 115-113, 116-112, 117-111 for the lefty DeMarco, who went to 25-2-1. He opened a cut on Reyes' left eye in the first minute of the tussle and was in control for the first portion of the tiff. DeMarco's long left stung Sanchez early on. His corner gave him the business, told him to “concentrate” after the fifth. The cornerman, by the way, was his manager, subbing for his trainer, who couldn't get here from Mexico.

The seventh saw some sweet trades. The slight Sanchez, boasting the body of a 15 year old boy who is most fond of video games and has no yen for junk food, shoved DeMarco around, surprisingly, towards the later rounds. If this was 22-plus years ago, and this bout was set for 15 rounds, Sanchez might've gotten the nod.

The loser, who came in with a well crafted record, falls to 20-4-1.

DeMarco will get a chance at champion Humberto Soto, or Urbano Antillon, who is scheduled to face the champ in a rematch from their Dec. 4 scrap, which resulted in a UD12 Soto win.

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