I've long loved the sport of boxing. My great grandfather got me interested in the sport by telling me stories of fights from "his day." Then there was the inevitable impact of Mike Tyson (and, more importantly, Mike Tyson's Punchout!) on a young kid. And finally the few brushes with Muhammad Ali, a resident of a nearby town and much bigger/better local resident celebrity than Smashing Pumpkins guitarist D'arcy (who now just hangs around the area getting arrested over and over). It all added up at an early age to cement my boxing fandom.
I ended up on SBNation writing here at BadLeftHook (after SBN stole the name from me, a story for another time) but got lazy, Scott got awesome and I was watching more MMA than boxing. I woke up one day with no memory of the previous night, wearing a t-shirt covered in dragons and skulls, surrounded by empty cans of Axe body spray and with a signed contract to write for Bloody Elbow sitting in my fax machine.
Anyway, after a bizarre gut feeling that I should watch some boxing the morning of Berto/Ortiz and JuanMa/Salido I started to get my boxing jones back. Then I was tasked with covering Mosley/Pacquiao for SBNation.com and after a week of non-stop boxing I'm wanting to get fully back in the fold.
So after that horribly long intro to what is going on, I asked Scott for names of guys I should be checking out that might not be on my radar in a #1 guy in his weight class/rising prospect/exciting to watch kind of way and now I plan on working through fights and sharing my worthless thoughts. My goal is to watch a fight by each guy he (and hopefully some of you all) told/tell me about. Because that's just the way it really works for most people. You hear about a guy and see one of his fights and than kind of decide if you want to go out of your way to see him again. So ...here we go.
Given that I've still casually followed boxing for these years, I had heard Rios' name come up several times. Unfortunately my schedule hadn't really lined up to where I'd been able to watch any of his fights.
I started off by watching some Rios interviews and immediately built up a dislike. I mean, it's pretty damn hard for me to think of another time I've watched a video and found Elie Seckbach to be the second most annoying man in it. As I can't really watch an old fight without knowing who is going to win, I was pretty annoyed that I'd be watching a fight that Rios won given how hard I now wanted to root against him. He just seemed like the kind of guy who goes to a local bar, has two drinks, can't handle his weak ass liquor, gets handsy with a girl he doesn't know and then cries while he tries to fight the bouncer as he is being thrown out.
Then I read about Rios and some of the kind of scummy things that went down during his career like the weigh-in crazyness from the Pac/Margarito undercard...which, come to think of it I did watch...so HEY! I have seen Brandon Rios fight before! I just don't remember it! Anyway, I just really did not like the kid heading into watching this fight.
But then I actually sat down and watched Rios vs. Miguel Acosta and was blown away. First off, it's a badass fight. Rios did not look particularly "special" in any aspect other than above-average power and a relentless will. His flat-out determination that he was going to continue coming forward, no matter how many times Acosta punched him, no matter how hard he got hit and no matter how well Acosta took his power early in the fight was fantastic. And then Miguel just started to crumble under the pressure and punching of Brandon and he got the violent stoppage win. It was pretty great stuff.
You guys don't need a recap of the fight and if you do, go read Scott's.
But once I got past the thrill of watching a great fight I wasn't really sure what to take away here. Rios was a blast to watch in this fight and seems like the kind of guy who is going to make for exciting fights every time out. But he also doesn't strike me as someone who will be "special." In fact, I think I could see myself taking Acosta if the two were to rematch. He plods, he leaves himself open to getting hit, he doesn't really have otherworldly power. It just adds up to a guy who probably runs into someone who gets him out of there with some big power shots. But still, he WAS a lot of fun to watch.
So on that note, I introduce you to the method on which I will be judging these fighters. An entirely arbitrary 1-5 ranking system that has NOTHING to do with how good I think a fighter is, but rather how much I care about this fighter and watching him fight again
On the 1-5 Care-O-Meter scale, I give Brandon Rios the full 5! I love watching guys fight who are too proud (or maybe too stupid) to back down even in a fight where it appears they're outclassed. And it's even better when they have enough of their own skills to combine with that pride (or stupidity) and find a way to win the fight. The one Brandon Rios (yes, I'm kind of calling him stupid. But in a way that benefits him as a fighter, if that makes it better.)fight I've seen (or can remember seeing) showed me that. So...there you go!
Next up? Miguel Vazquez!
When? Whenever I get around to it.