I didn't really see this coming, though in retrospect, maybe I, and we all, should have. For the second fight in a row, brawler Brandon Rios didn't make weight, and caused immense drama the day before a big bout.
Rios this afternoon scaled 137 pounds for his Saturday bout in Las Vegas against Richard Abril. The interim WBA 135 pound title was to be up for grabs, and Rios was two pounds over the limit. The boxer had an hour to hit 135, and he could not. Abril can still win the crown, Rios, who must give up a portion of his purse to Abril, can not.
Top Rank's Carl Moretti talked to TSS after the final word came down that the 29-0 boxer couldn't drop the extra weight. "We're not angry at him, but we're disappointed," he said. "We (don't regret having him fight at 135) because we were told it wouldn't be an issue by his camp."
So, safe to say this is his last fight at 135, which was most were assuming and saying right after the 25 year-old Rios couldn't make the weight against John Murray at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 2 for his Dec. 3 tussle? "I would assume...though this wasn't a fight at 135..he didn't make 135," Moretti said, with half a chuckle.
So, did he talk to the kid? "No. I wouldn't say he was in a talkative mood."
Team Rios, including Cameron Dunkin, seemed confident their guy would hit his mark. They had him overhaul his conditioning and had him with a nutritionist. Rios said he was on target, said he was eating better and would make 135. No dice...
I must note, I was looking for a Rios photo to post earlier today and thought to myself that his face at the press conference Thursday looked not so dissimilar as it did on Dec. 2, like there wasn't enough flesh and fat on there. But I shrugged it off..
Lee Wylie and me emailed on the subject three days ago.
"Also, can Rios still make weight? Abril is comfortable at the weight and is a six footer!" Wylie wrote me.
"Yeah, the weight I think could still be more of an issue than many think," I responded.
I have to think trainer Robert Garcia will get the third degree from some people. Didn't he have Rios on a scale as obsessively as possible in this camp? Does he not have the pull with the kid he should probably have? Does Rios sneak away for furtive fridge runs? All that is maybe immaterial, as the world now knows Rios isn't a lightweight. But we have to keep an eye on the subject, because sometime this sort of thing is mental, a psychological issue, a manifestation of fear of success or failure. Or, maybe, the kid simply has a set point body weight, and it ain't 135 pounds.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV