Last Saturday night in Las Vegas, Brandon Rios returned to his winning ways. After suffering back to back losses to Mike Alvarado and Manny Pacquiao during a winless 2013, the boxing world questioned wether the career of “Bam Bam” Rios was coming to an end. Despite being only 28 years old, Rios has already taken his fair share of punishment during his ten year professional career. Usually the face first, two fisted brawling kind of a style that Rios fights in thrills the audience, but comes with the consequence of shaving years off of a professional fighter’s career. However, against a tough, hard punching opponent in Diego Chaves (23-2, 19 KOs), Brandon Rios showed his days of winning slugfests are not over yet.
As soon as the bell for round one sounded off, Rios came out with the intensity and aggressiveness that defined him during his rise through the sport. Immediately, Diego Chaves met Rios in the center of the ring to test his hallowed chin. True to the legend, Rios’ chin would not only hold up, but he would hardly even flinch throughout the night. Rios would respond with his own bombs, as the two would set the tone for the rest of the fight in round one.
Diego Chaves came into last Saturday night as the fighter who on paper should have had a slight size advantage. For Brandon Rios, it was only his second fight at a 147 pounds in the welterweight division. Diego Chaves on the other hand has spent his entire career at welterweight. Perhaps that is why he tried to test Rios early on throughout the first three rounds, curious to see how Rios would deal with the strength and power of a true welterweight. Chaves would clock Rios with some heavy punches, but could not dent the surprisingly stronger Rios.
Chaves’ corner told him after round three to start boxing Brandon Rios after yelling at him “This guy is crazy! Move!” Chaves was having good success, but Rios was absorbing his blows and doing damage on the inside. It was time for plan B for Chaves, as he looked to open up the distance between himself and Rios. Chaves started using his legs more in the fourth, and would find success as he began nailing Rios with right hands.
In rounds five and six, Chaves continued to have the advantage by getting some space between himself and Rios. With Chaves no longer willing to oblige Rios to meet on the inside, the offense of Rios was not as affective. As Rios began to just plod forward, Chaves continued to nail him coming in with punches in bunches. The momentum was slipping away, and Brandon Rios needed to wake up.
Coming into the seventh, Robert Garcia told Brandon Rios to “Come on! Show us the beast we all know!” Tempers on both sides of the ring were begging to boil, as both fighters had already had a point deducted each for rough house tactics. Brandon Rios began to cut off the ring and get on the inside as Chaves’ movement began to slow. Once on the inside, Rios just as he did earlier had the advantage. Round eight was more of the same and would wind up being the last full round fought, as the fight was nearing a bizarre end. Rios seemed to have won a 10-8 round in the eighth after another point deduction to Diego Chaves by referee Vic Drakulich.
From a view at ringside, to my eyes it seemed as though Rios was on his way to a very close, hard fought decision victory over Diego Chaves in round nine. With only one more round to go, it seemed as though the work on the inside done by Rios in the early rounds, and then again as he caught his second wind had given him a slight edge. Chaves’ early decision to test Rios toe to toe seemed to backfire on him, as he may have found the right game plan just a bit late. Then, after both fighters were equally fighting dirty in the middle of the ninth, Vic Drakulich decided to disqualify Diego Chaves.
It was a pretty bad call by Drakulich, who in my opinion is the worst big-time referee in Las Vegas. The official judges ringside actually had Diego Chaves ahead on two of the three scorecards by scores of 75-74. While the other judge’s score was 75-74 for Rios. Both fighters were equally dirty throughout the night, and neither man did anything to separate himself as the dirtier fighter.
It is unfortunate that a pretty good fight had to end in controversy, unfortunately that is nothing new in Boxing. Brandon Rios should not be blamed for the undesirable outcome that took place. It was not his fault that Vic Drakulich was not able to keep the situation under control, but Rios did his job. It may not have been exactly what Brandon wanted, but he will take it. In the end, it was a good fight