Timothy Bradley puts his shiny new WBO welterweight belt on the line against former world 135 pound title holder Brandon Rios this weekend in a fight that is more ‘loser drops out’ rather than ‘winner takes all’.
As both fighters have only managed to win two of their last four bouts, a further defeat would be unthinkable for the American fighter’s at this stage of their career as both aim to be in the mix for super-fights in 2016.
Due to Rios having mixed fortunes at 147 since moving up against Manny Pacquiao, and Bradley having been quite comfortable at the weight since 2012, the onus is more on ‘Bam Bam’ to lay down a marker of his own at the welterweight limit. Bona-fide welterweights are not a recognised fixture on the 36-fight C.V currently possessed by Rios and the jury is still out on exactly what the best poundage is for the ex-WBA lightweight champion.
The same could be said for Bradley, to an extent, whilst the two-weight belt holder’s latest win over Jessie Vargas saw ‘Desert Storm’ swap long-term trainer Joel Diaz for Mike Tyson’s old team member Teddy Atlas.
All in all, there are a lot of questions to be answered by pitting these two forces together, something promoter Bob Arum should be praised for, although where the eventual loser goes from here is anyone’s guess.
Bradley is muscle-bound enough to head up to 154, but may struggle against the likes of Canelo and Demetrius Andrade, whilst Rios would have a lot to think about career-wise if he becomes embroiled in another all-out twelve-round war this weekend.
Now that Floyd Mayweather is removed from the picture and Manny Pacquiao is on his way out, the door is wide open for one of these two warriors to take the bull by the horns in Las Vegas – but whether that becomes a reality is another story entirely.