A classy Richard Abril should be celebrating becoming the WBA lightweight champion following an assured performance against former title holder Brandon Rios at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
The 29 year-old, who was the only fighter who could claim the belt as Rios failed to make 135lbs yet again, totally out-boxed a sluggish Rios for at least eight rounds to take the fight 117-112 on my scorecard.
How judges Jerry Roth (116-112) and Glenn Trowbridge (115-113) saw the contest for Rios is beyond belief and is only doing a dis-service to boxing as a spectacle and a sport. Adalaide Byrd was more accurate carding 117-111 as Abril out-manoeuvred and bamboozled Rios at times as ‘Bam Bam’ walked in taking combinations from the Cuban all night.
The only criticism you could level at Abril was his clinching once Rios came in close, but he was warned twice by referee Vic Drakulich and it would never have affected the outcome of the fight anyway.
Rios, 25, should now be contemplating his first defeat, and the ludicrous decision for him to continue fighting at 135lbs after losing his WBA title on the scales in New York before stopping England’s John Murray.
The Oxnard fighter is instead looking forward to a probable July date against Juan Manuel Marquez, which is a sad reflection of the way boxing has been dragged for years and a complete overhaul of judging is needed to save the sport from losing more fans.