Lem Satterfield of The RING reports that Brandon Rios has a December 10 date on Showtime, which may be a fight with the UK's Kevin Mitchell, meaning that Rios will not be a featured attraction on the November 12 pay-per-view undercard of Manny Pacquiao's fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.
"Cameron Dunkin has told me that Showtime has already agreed to Dec. 10, but no opponent. He said that he would like to do it here in Southern California, maybe in Los Angeles, or, maybe in Las Vegas," said [trainer Robert] Garcia.
"Nothing's for sure, but that's what it looks like. Cameron was going to try to talk to Top Rank today to see if it's a sure thing, but that his understanding was that it was going to be on Dec. 10."
Rios (28-0-1, 21 KO) is coming off of a pair of scintillating fights on Showtime, defeating Miguel Acosta with a comeback knockout in February to pick up the WBA lightweight belt, and then stopping Urbano Antillon in the third round in a toe-to-toe war on July 9. It was said that his next fight would be in the co-feature slot on November 12, but now that doesn't look like it's happening. Rios has picked up some serious buzz with fight fans this year, and is becoming a real player.
And as happy as I am that Rios is main eventing a December 10 show, because he's a good fighter who deserves to main event shows, I won't say that I'm not disappointed about the news that he won't be part of the Pacquiao vs Marquez show. His fight was something I was hoping the 1-1.5 million people buying that show would see, but now he'll be on Showtime, where he'll be seen by roughly 600-700,000 Showtime subscribers. It's more money from Rios for Top Rank, but I doubt it raises his profile any.
As for Mitchell (32-1, 24 KO) as a possible opponent, I like it fine. Mitchell looked terrific in his comeback earlier this year, but Rios is a big, powerful, sturdy lightweight, and we've seen Mitchell trucked by Michael Katsidis in the past. Rios is better than Katsidis was, and a good bit better than John Murray. I wouldn't give Kevin a great chance at the upset, but it would say a lot about him as a fighter, too. Coming off the loss to Katsidis, he jumped right back in for a tough shot at Murray, and now he could be looking at Rios, who is the top lightweight in the world if you no longer count Juan Manuel Marquez. Mitchell surely doesn't lack stones.
December 10 has been rumored as the target date for Amir Khan's next fight on HBO as well, but some feel it's possible or even likely that Khan will be pushed back until January 2012, and the next weekend is also open, plus with all the drama going on, the December 3 date currently reserved for the Cotto vs Margarito PPV could be open, too.