Warriors Humberto Soto and Brandon Rios go to war
By Bill Tibbs
Matchroom Boxing USA will promote its first show in Mexico as former world champions Brandon Rios and Humberto Soto will meet at the Municipal Auditorium in Tijuana on Saturday, February 23.
Rios (35-4-1, 26 KO’s), a former world champion in the lightweight division, will be tangling with former two-weight champion Soto (68-9-2, 37 KO’s) a native of Los Mochis, now living in Tijuana, Mexico.
With both fighters having a lot of name recognition in the sport, and both as former world champions, a win for either one puts their name forward as a possible world title challenger in 2019. However, a loss might have them questioning if they have a future in boxing at the championship level.
For Soto, heading into his 80th fight, with 22 years in the sport, and at age 38, it is fair to say this is definitely a crossroads fight for the former world champion.
Soto has had an outstanding career to say the least with the WBA featherweight, the WBO and WBC super featherweight and the WBC lightweight titles in his trophy case.
Soto will be working in the heaviest weight of their career in the welterweight division as he turned pro 20-pounds south as a teenager back in 1997. However, that debut was 22 years ago, so fighting at 147-pounds is probably close to his best fighting weight at this age. Fighting at a heavier weight will allow him to enter the ring feeling strong having not had to drain himself for an unnatural weight cut at age 38.
The big question surrounding the fight is, what does each fighter have left? While Rios is 6 years younger, and has 40 less fights, his career has been one of many wars. Try as he might to box more in the twilight of his career, he is simply a brawler and a warrior in the ring. While this has made him a fan friendly fighter over the years, his style usually doesn’t bode well to a long career.
So Rios, despite less fights, and being 6-years younger, may very well have as many miles on him as Soto.
We shall soon see what each fighter has left and both warriors are hoping that a win will convince a promoter that they deserve one more shot at the brass ring. And, based on their impressive careers, multiple world titles and name recognition, a win may very well propel them into a title tussle.
Regardless of what Rios has clocked onto his odometer, Soto is heading into his 80th bout, over a (more than) two-decade career and time is not on his side, and he knows it.
“I cannot wait for February 23”, said Soto. “I am so excited for this opportunity in a city that feels like a second home”, he said. “ I know that this fight is do or die and that is why I am very motivated and training really hard. We know that we have a tough opponent in Brandon Rios, a true warrior. But so am I”, he said. “This will be a war and I will be ready to win”, he said.