Los Angeles Times boxing scribe Lance Pugmire just mentioned on Twitter that Bob Arum has announced a July 9 fight between lightweight warriors Brandon Rios and Urbano Antillon. The fight will be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Califonria.
Rios (27-0-1, 20 KO) came to prominence last year with a gritty, all-action performance on HBO against Anthony Peterson, winning the fight by DQ when a flustered and frustrated Peterson wouldn't stop hitting Rios in the groin. Rios next was slotted on the Pacquiao-Margarito undercard, taking a short-notice fight against overmatched Omri Lowther. Though Rios was far from peak condition, he got Lowther out in five and set himself up for a major bout, which came in February against trinket-carrier Miguel Acosta. In a leading Fight of the Year candidate (and in my view, still the Fight of the Year), Rios rallied to blast out Acosta in the tenth round.
Now, Rios faces the man against whom Acosta made his own name. Antillon (28-2, 20 KO) was set to rematch Humberto Soto on the Pacquiao-Mosley show, but Soto recently pulled out to test the free agent waters around him. Needing an opponent for Rios, Top Rank looked to Antillon as a natural fit. There's no way this fight won't be exciting unless one of them changes, and that's unlikely -- these guys are reckless in their DNA. Antillon's December loss to Soto won many Fight of the Year awards, including Bad Left Hook's, and the rematch was to be a great enticement for hardcore fans who see Pacquiao-Mosley as a mismatch to buy that card. That fell through, and now we might get an even better fight.
Both men are come-forward, fearless pressure fighters. This is going to be two bulls colliding. It will truly be last man standing. There's almost no way these two get through 12 rounds against one another. Mark this one down on your calendar, tell your friends, and get ready for a war on July 9.
Katie, bar the door.