Undefeated lightweight titlist Brandon Rios is looking ahead of his Dec. 3 fight against John Murray on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito undercard at Madison Square Garden, and says he is excited about the prospect of matching up with Yuriorkis Gamboa early in 2012. Gamboa (21-0, 16 KO), the unbeaten Cuban superstar and former featherweight titlist, would have to jump up two weight classes to face Rios at 135 pounds, a division Rios claims he's the top dog in. In an interview with BoxingScene.com's "The Boxing Lab", Rios (28-0-1, 21 KO) made it clear that he'd sign up for a fight with Gamboa at lightweight.
"How is he going to handle my pressure? Cause he's coming into my class. He's coming to my division. This is my title. This is my world at 135. I run it. Only reason I'm number two is because (Juan Manuel) Marquez hasn't faced me yet. But other than that, I run 135. So how's he going to handle it?
As long as Juan Manuel Marquez is still an active boxer, he's the best lightweight in the world. He's recognized as so by The Ring. Although Marquez just fought Manny Pacquiao at 144 pounds, I think it's safe to say he "runs" 135 as long as he's active or gets beat at the weight.
Of course Rios would love to fight Gamboa immediately, forcing the Cuban to jump up from 126 pounds. Gamboa has fought above the featherweight limit before, most recently a first round knockout of Walter Estrada in February of 2009. His last seven fights have been back down at featherweight. I guess it wouldn't hurt Gamboa to take a tune-up fight or two at 130 or 135 before facing Rios, but all he does is risk losing or looking bad and diminishing his value. If he goes straight up and beats Rios, it would make a huge statement.
Rios fights next on December 3, facing John Murray on the Cotto vs Margarito undercard.