Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios is set to return to the ring, and BoxingScene.com's Lem Satterfield reports that July 9 is the current target date. Rios' handlers were hoping for a June return on a major card, but are content with the slight delay.
No opponent has been named for the July date, and there isn't even any rumor floating just yet. But as for veteran Marco Antonio Barrera, he's likely not in the running for that fight. Barrera had previously indicated that he was looking to fight in April, which likely would be another weak "tune-up" fight like Barrera's last two fights against Adailton de Jesus and 43-year-old Jose Arias. He also says he's going to retire in December, but, you know. Boxing retirements. We'll see.
Rios soared to new heights with a TKO victory over Miguel Acosta in an incredible fight in February, so far leading the Fight of the Year race for 2011. The hard-nosed brawler isn't always the most likeable sort out of the ring, but there's no denying his appeal between the bells, and as long as he just keeps his offenses to being (for lack of a better term) a dick, then I think he'll continue to make more fans.
135 has plenty of potential opponents for Rios, but Top Rank probably sees some decent money in a Rios-Barrera fight, maybe even as a Latin Fury PPV headliner or co-headliner. So it's probably fair to expect a credible but not dangerous opponent for Rios' return to the ring.
As an aside, July 9 is also the target date for Sergio Martinez's return on HBO, which at this point seems very likely to be a marginal fight against fringe contender Peter Manfredo Jr., as both are promoted by Lou DiBella and it's an easy fight to make, plus Manfredo has never backed down from any challenge.
Here's a quick question, assuming that Rios-Barrera does happen and that Maidana-Morales goes as we all expect. Which fight turns you off more, or are they equal, or do you humbly accept that both are just realities of the boxing world?