What we had heard rumors of last week has become official tonight as the highly anticipated bout between Brandon Rios and Yuriorkis Gamboa has been cancelled. Word broke earlier this afternoon and just before 5 p.m. ET we were informed of the new opponent.
Here's the tweet with the information from Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole:
Fans who have already purchased tickets are able to get refunds through March 23 while the event will retain the same prices going forward. Iole told me on Twitter that Top Rank "wanted to lower prices" with the change but they were unable to because some people will not be taking the refunds.
Abril brings a record of 17-2-1 to the table with eight of those wins coming by knockout and the two losses by split decision.
This isn't the worst possible opponent, Abril is likely to "come to fight" and Rios has a style that makes bad fights near impossible. But, Abril isn't really the "next step" kind of opponent that we all want to see Rios in against. Five straight wins are nice but it's hard not to see this as a letdown with all the hype surrounding the Gamboa fight. Even with Abril's big decision win over Miguel Acosta, we're not looking at a top ten lightweight.
This was clearly what was coming all along though, especially when there was the scuffle at a Gamboa/Rios presser between Brandon and Richard.
It is also interesting (though not surprising) to see that Top Rank will be suing Gamboa. The PR hit for Yuriorkis is going to be near impossible to recover from and without a solid established fanbase, he's in big danger of being put in a bad financial spot by Top Rank's legal action.