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Bradley dominates from the opening bell, stops Rios in nine

(Photo © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing)
(Photo © German Villasenor, MaxBoxing)

By John J. Raspanti

Would he box or slug? That was one of the questions going into tonight’s battle between WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and former world champion Brandon Rios.

Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) did a little bit of both--eventually stopping Rios (33-3-1, 23 KOs) in round nine at the Thomas @ Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bradley, 32, started quickly in the opening stanza. He moved side to side and fired shots to the body and head. Rios connected with a right. Bradley stopped Rios in his tracks with a left hook to the gut. The blow was foreshadowing for what would occur later in the match. He also landed a clubbing left to the chin.

Rios, 29, had a flash of success in round two. He connected with a right. He also went to body. But he basically had no clue what to do. An opponent who can move will always befuddle Rios.

Bradley was back in control in round three. He jabbed, hooked and moved away. Rios countered with a good right hand. Both boxers landed wicked body shots.

Rios was told to throw faster punches in round four. Easier said than done. He lacked fire and looked listless. Bradley continued to beat him up. The defending champion was landing three punches to one, but Rios is old school all the way. His chin is solid, but his reflexes were slow. Bradley stepped around Rios and connected with a crisp right hand.

In round five, Bradley landed an overhand right. Rios acknowledged the blow with a wink. Bradley said fine and unloaded a number of combinations.

Rios had no answer. The bout was beginning to resemble his fight against Manny Pacquiao 24 months ago. He pursued Bradley and tried to fight back, but he looked as if he was going through the motions. Bradley could do pretty much whatever he wanted.

Bradley’s beatdown continued in round six. He moved away and boxed. A few seconds later, Bradley connected with four sweet left hands to the chin. He couldn’t miss.

Likely way ahead on the judges’ scorecards through six rounds, Bradley took some chances in round seven. He stayed close to Rios and worked. New trainer Teddy Atlas gave Bradley a pep-talk before round eight. Not that it was needed it--he was winning the fight easily, but Bradley was listening. Atlas wanted him to maintain his concentration. Bradley did what he was told. He popped Rios with shots from the inside and outside.

The extra sharp Bradley went back to boxing in round nine. He dug two vicious left hooks to the belly. Rios backed away. Those shots hurt. Bradley went right back downstairs. Another deep left to the solar plexus floored Rios. The former champion struggled to beat the count. Bradley pounced. Five more belly blows sent Rios to the canvas where referee Tony Weeks waved off the contest.

The time was 2:49 seconds into round nine.

“I seen I hurt him earlier to the body,” Bradley said in the ring. “I wanted him to forget about the body punch. I then went back there. I still got a lot to learn.”

“I think it’s time to hang em up,” said a visibly disappointed Rios. “My body isn’t the same.”

Bradley’s performance was arguably the best of his 11-year professional career.

John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at:


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