Bradley Retires Rios

Photo by Katherine Rodriguez

Bradley Retires Rios via KO

By Igor Frank

Las Vegas – Former HBO’s analyst Larry Merchant used to say “Boxing is a theater of the unexpected.” No one expected WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley to knock out iron chinned Brandon Rios on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Many envisioned the much faster Bradley to outbox his opponent, but no one expected a knock out. And that is exactly what happened when the focused champion from Palm Springs side stepped his foe and fired a perfectly placed left hook to the solar-plexus of Rios

Bam Bam went down as if all the air was sucked out of him with that one shot. He did beat the count by instinct, but it was obvious he had nothing left. Bradley went for the kill and landed a few more body shots on the defenseless Rios who went down again, at which point referee Tony Weeks ended the contest. The time of the stoppage was 2:49 of the 9th stanza.

“When I sidestepped I caught him right to the solar plexus, said Bradley whose facial expression after the fight showed that he was just as much surprised by a knockout victory as everyone else.

“Desert Storm” Bradley came out firing on all cylinders throwing combinations behind a jab, but by the end of the round they were fighting on the inside which might have been a good sign for Rios. Bradley controlled the action in the second, but he wanted to show his opponent that he could handle himself on the inside, which afforded Rios opportunities and the only chance he had.

Brandon’s success was fleeting as Bradley continued to attack demonstrating his hand speed and variety of punches. Inspired by his new coach Teddy Atlas, Bradley dominated the action but Rios kept getting inside in the third while fans chanted his name.

The champion from Palm Springs got the better of the inside exchanges in the fourth stanza. Bradley completely dominated the fifth frame, moving and throwing and landing everything but a kitchen sink on his opponent. Rios had no answers, by this time he wasn't even winning the inside battle. Things looked bleak for the challenger from Oxnard especially after he got hit by the bald round head of Bradley in the sixth. Even fans at the Thomas and Mack Center turned on him and began chanting” Bradley, Bradley!”

Bradley continued his multifaceted assault; he looked to be a stronger man in the ring in the seventh round, but Rios never stopped trying and coming forward. Could Bradley keep it up for twelve rounds?

That wasn't the question. The question was could the weight-drained Rios handle a motivated Bradley. He couldn’t. Rios got dropped by a body shot in the ninth and that was the end, the end of a career for Bam Bam.

“I am done with boxing,” said the visibly upset 29-year-old Rios immediately after the fight. Most pundits hope that he will stick by his decision.

Contact Igor Frank at or via Twitter(Fightmonger)