If Urbano Antillon punched just a little bit harder, I think I'd favor him in this fight, but it's going to take a serious bruiser to take down Brandon Rios before Rios gets "old" in the ring, which is likely to happen sooner than you would expect given his style. I think Antillon's a better boxer, I think his technique is superior, and I think he's a little quicker and smarter. But this is going to be a close-quarters, toe-to-toe, phonebooth war. And there are few if any in the sport who do that better than Brandon Rios does right now. As good as Antillon is as a come-forward brawler, Rios is just better at it, plus he's younger and fresher. I'm expect about six rounds of hellacious action before Antillon physically can't take anymore. This will be a relief to Rios, who will also feel himself pushed to the wall.
The consensus appears to be that this will be fun while it lasts, but an almost certain victory for Rios. He's got a little extra pop in his mitts, and appears to be the more durable fighter. That's probably correct, yet the body of evidence on both men is still rather slim. Having been toppled by Acosta, one might have expected Antillon to meet a similar fate against Humberto Soto - yet he showed remarkable resiliancy against the latter, taking some big bombs while almost never taking a backward step. If he can take the incoming, it's not that much of stretch to see Antillon outworking Rios. It's not the most likely result, but it wouldn't be a shocker.
I'm as excited as everyone else for Rios vs. Antillon tonight, and I've gone back and forth on this one. Something about Antillon's attitude before the fight has impressed me, but this is just a hunch. On the other hand, I see Rios fighting harder and more actively from the jump. With a style match-up like this one, I suspect the man who gets in and lands first will get the best of most exchanges, and Rios' brash approach should help him do that. I'm going with a Rios KO mid-fight after a thrilling war.