By: Sean Crose
“It feels nice to fight back in Mexico,” Brandon Rios exclaims. “Especially right now with everything that’s going on, all the politics. Not only that, but it’s good to give the Mexican fans a great show, they get (to) see me live which is awesome.” Rios will be facing Humberto Soto this Saturday night at the Auditorio Municipal Fausto Gutierrez in Tijuana, highlighting a card that will be aired live on the DAZN streaming service. “I’m fighting a guy that lives in Tijuana,” Rios says of Soto. “He’s from Mexico, so I’m pretty sure the crowd’s going to be on his side, 100 per cent, but it feels good to be back out in front of Mexican fans. I’m ready to go and show the world that I’m ready to get back to the top again.”
Rios, 35-4-1 is perhaps best known for a three fight trilogy with Mike Alvarado. Through no fault of Rios’ own, Alvarado phoned in his performance in the final match. The first two fights, however, were highly entertaining affairs. Although he went through a retirement roughly a year and a half long, Rios has won two out of three bouts since returning to the ring in 2017. An action fighter, Rios has exclusively lost to high level competition. Alvarez, Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley, and Danny Garcia have been the only men to best Rios so far.
In Soto, however, Rios will be facing a popular and hardened warrior who, at 38, would love nothing more than to surprise a name opponent. “I have some fans from LA going over the border to watch the fight,” Rios says of the leadup to his showdown with the 68-9-2 Soto, “but I’m pretty sure he’s going to have more support. Anything can happen though, at the end of the day it’s not about who has what, it’s about me and him in the ring.” Rios, of course, is hoping this Saturday’s fight in another step on the road back to big things.
“The main decision for me to come back,” says Rios, “was when I was watching a fight on TV and I told my wife ‘Baby, that can still be me. I can still do that shit. I know I can still do that shit.’ I just had bad camp, bad habits. She told me ‘I’m going to let you do what you want to do, you’re a grown man. But if you come back, you’ve got to promise me you do it right.’ None of the half-assed shit, with the dieting, and all that. So, I thought about it for about a day or two, and I had the urge for it.” Now that he’s back to garnering some attention in the fight world, one thing Rios isn’t interested in doing is underestimating his opponent.
“Soto is a veteran,” Rios says, “he’s 30 years old. he knows some tricks, he’s a former three-time World champion, so we’ve got to be ready for whatever he brings. That’s why I’m working so hard to correct the mistakes.” Needless to say, Rios is essentially promising fireworks. “It’s going to be a great fight,” he says. “You’ve got a three-division former champion Soto comes to fight, very talented and very skillful, he’s a big counter puncher. Then you’ve got myself, Bam Bam, who comes to brawl and always gives the fans a good show, but what always makes a perfect fight is a counter and brawler. There’s always going to be punches thrown, always something going to happen.”
The Rios-Soto match is scheduled for 12 rounds and will be fought in the welterweight division.