Brandon Rios. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Brandon Rios is turning people’s pessimism and doubt of him winning a major title into motivation…and a promise to one of his children.
The 32-year-old Rios wants to do everything in his power to make that dream come true.
Rios will face former two-division titlist Humberto Soto Saturday night at the Auditorio Municipal in Tijuana, Mexico. The 10-round bout will stream live on DAZN. The entire card will begin streaming at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m.
In his most recent bout on November 17, Rios (35-4-1, 26 knockouts) stopped fringe junior middleweight contender Ricardo Alvarez in round nine, in Mulvane, Kansas. Alvarez is the older brother of The Ring Magazine/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
The Alvarez fight came nine months after Rios was stopped by Danny Garcia in nine rounds in Las Vegas.
Both fights marked the return of trainer Robert Garcia in his corner. Both amicably parted ways after Rios’ stoppage loss to Timothy Bradley in November of 2015.
Rios worked with Los Angeles-area trainer Ricky Funez for one fight but decided to return to Garcia, with whom he has worked since his pro debut in July of 2004.
“I know Ricky was doing his job as a trainer but I was missing Robert,” Rios told RingTV.com over the phone earlier this week. “It bothered me not hearing Robert’s voice in the gym, so I went back to him. We have a great relationship because we’re family. I just want to do things right and I feel more comfortable having him with me.”
Rios will face somewhat of a mirror image in Soto, who has won titles at 130 and 135 pounds. Like Rios, Soto comes forward and throws a high volume of punches.
Soto (68-9-2, 37 KOs) has won his last three bouts since losing by unanimous decision to recent junior welterweight title challenger Antonio Orozco in October of 2015. The 38-year-old Soto may be on the downside of his career but Rios is not overlooking him.
“Soto is a former champion and you can’t take that lightly,” said Rios, who resides in Oxnard and trains in Riverside, California. “He’s not just an old guy. I’m ready and I’ve concentrated on what I need to do. I know he’s going to be ready.”
Rios is also fighting four months after his most recent fight, which differs to recent years when he would wait several months between fights.
“I wanted to fight three times in a year. Since I signed with (promoter) Eddie Hearn, I knew I was going to fight again after the Alvarez fight. I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of down time. That’s OK by me.”
Rios now has another motivating factor. He is attempting to follow through on a bet with his daughter Mia.
“My daughter is in kickboxing and she is working towards her black belt. She wants me to win a world title, so I told her if she wins a black belt, I will work hard to win a world title. If I win a title, I will give her the belt.”
Rios is currently not ranked by any of the four major sanctioning bodies but he believes he will enter the top 15 with an impressive win over Soto. Rios has embraced a confidence that led him to winning a world title belt at 135 pounds in 2011 but he may not have much time left in the sport.
With Garcia by his side, Rios believes he is in a better place than where he was several months ago.
“I’m very motivated and I know I can do it. I’ve never been this hungry to win a world title. I have faith I can make it happen.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.
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