LAS VEGAS, NEV (April 10, 2012) – Undefeated former World Lightweight Champion BRANDON “Bam Bam” RIOS (29-0-1, 22 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., and his opponent, World Boxing Association (WBA) interim lightweight champion and Cuban expatriate RICHARD ABRIL (17-2-1, 8 KOs), of Miami, Fla., hosted a Las Vegas media workout at the Top Rank Gym today. These two warriors face off for the vacant WBA lightweight title on Saturday night at Mandalay Bay. Here’s what they had to say:
“I’m not letting this unknown coming in and ruining eight years of hard work I put into building my professional boxing career. I beat Miguel Acosta when he was in his prime unlike Abril who beat him on his way down on short notice.
“I was disappointed when I lost the title because I lost the title to myself, on the scale and not to an opponent. It was my fault 100%. The minute I returned home after that fight (A TKO 11 victory of John Murray on Dec. 3) I went straight to the gym to resume training and hired a nutritionist.It was the best decision I ever made. I’m a beast. I feel so much more energetic and powerful and I’m not missing meals. I’m never hungry.
“I’m just a guy who loves to fight. I love my job.
“I originally came back to 135 pounds to fight Gamboa and to win back my world lightweight title. I wanted my title back. I’m not the same without a world championship belt around my waist. I also think a world title makes me worth more. It makes me more valuable.
“Juan Manuel Márquez and I have a lot of options in 2012 and a lot of opportunities. I think this could be a career year for either of us.One of us could end up as th Fighter of the Year.”
“This is a great opportunity for me to win a world title. It’s also a great opportunity for Rios to lose to a great champion. He’ll become more famous because he lost to me.
"When I beat Acosta to win the interim world title, I knocked him down three times during the fight. I had a more dominant performance against Acosta than Rios.
“I’m going to break Rios’ mouth when we fight. He’s said a lot of shit. I want Rios to make weight. I want him at his best when I beat him. No excuses.
“I was surprised when Gamboa withdrew from his fight against Rios. I thought Gamboa had a good chance to beat Rios. For a $1 million purse I would fight King Kong.
“I don’t like Rios. He’s got a big mouth. Rios is a good fighter.He has a Mexican fighting style. But Saturday is going to be the end for him. My best weapon is my precision. That is my advantage over Rios.”
JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ headlines the event as he goes for an historic fourth world title in as many different weight divisions when he rumbles with World Boxing Organization (WBO) European junior welterweight champion SERGEY FEDCHENKO for the vacant WBO interim 140-pound world title. Márquez-Fedchenko will take place in México City’s brand new Arena México. Rios, who will be in the other main event, will attempt to reclaim his old title when he tangles with Cuban gladiator and WBA interim lightweight champion Abril in a battle for the vacant WBA lightweight title, Saturday, April 14, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.Rounding out the card will be a battle of Top 10 contenders when “Mile High” MIKE ALVARADO takes on MAURICIO HERRERA in a 10-round junior welterweight bout and undefeated Top 10 contender MERCITO “No Mercy” GESTA risks record and rating when he fights OSCAR CUERO in a 10-round lightweight bout. The Márquez/Rios world championship event will be produced by Top Rank and distributed Live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
Boxing fans at Mandalay Bay will also see the Márquez-Fedchenko world title fight live, via closed-circuit, on a jumbo screen.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Tecate and AT&T, remaining tickets priced at $250, $150, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges, are available at all Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Mandalay Bay at (877) 632-7400 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Rios, the former WBA lightweight champion, enters this fight having won 10 of his previous 11 fights by knockout. Highlight victories on his resume include Miguel Acosta, Anthony Peterson, Urbano Antillon and John Murray, none of whom went the distance. Abril returns to the ring having won seven of his previous eight fights. He captured the WBA interim lightweight title last October, knocking down former WBA lightweight champion Acosta three times en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Márquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs), of México City, is one of only a rare few from México to have won world titles in three different weight divisions.The only man to go the distance with pound for pound superstar Manny Pacquiao three times, Márquez boasts a Hall of Fame resume highlighted by victories over Marco Antonio Barrera, Manuel Medina, Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis. Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs), from Kharkov, Ukraine, enters this fight riding a 28-month winning streak, which has includes WBO European title victories over Willy Blain and Demarcus Corley. He is world-rated No. 4 by the WBO.
Alvarado (32-0, 23 KOs), of Denver, has won 10 of his last 12 bouts by stoppage en route to a career-high No. 3 world rating, in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Notable knockout victims include Breidis Prescott, Ray Narh, Emmanuel Clottey and Cesar Bazan. Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs), of Riverside, Calif., enters this fight riding a two-year, five-bout winning streak, highlighted by victories over Ruslan Provodnikov (17-0) and Mike Dallas, Jr. (17-1-1). Herrera is currently world-rated No. 7 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
Gesta (24-0-1, 12 KOs), of Cebu, Philippines, returns to the ring with seven of his last 10 victories coming inside the distance, earning career-high world ratings of No. 7 in the WBA and No. 8 in the WBO. He takes on Cuero (15-7, 12 KOs), of Cartagena, Colombia, whose last 10 victories have come by way of knockout.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV