With Richard Abril now in for April 14 against Brandon Rios in Las Vegas, he and his trainer are sounding very confident that they can pull the upset and make a big name for themselves.
"I’m focused and very well trained for this fight. I've been in training long before this fight was discussed. ... I’m going to show my fans that I am really brave and that I have a lot of balls. Brandon Rios will have a lot of trouble with an opponent like myself."
Abril's trainer Osmiri Fernandez makes clear that the fight will have a 135-pound limit, and that he feels Abril (17-2-1, 8 KO) has the right skill set to give the ferocious Mexican all kinds of trouble.
The 29-year-old Cuban is coming off of a decision win against Miguel Acosta last October. Acosta, you will remember, was knocked out by Rios in February 2011, which was the fight that landed Rios his first major title.
In all candor, the only major issue that Rios might have here is weight -- as in, that's the only thing I think you can count on giving him serious trouble. Abril is a capable, competent fighter, but this is a huge ask of him right now. But if Rios struggles to make 135 again, anything could happen. Abril is a far better pure boxer than John Murray, whose straight ahead, close quarters style of attack did a pretty unhealthy Rios a lot of favors in December.
As you may or may not have yet heard, this fight will not be televised by HBO, as was planned for Rios vs Gamboa. It just didn't work out, and it's no surprise, given that Abril has no name value whatsoever and HBO isn't being run by Ross Greenburg anymore. As much as I would have liked to see Rios on HBO on April 14, I think they made the right call. If Top Rank puts together a solid four-fight card, then they could take it to pay-per-view, but they'd know better than I do if Rios has the audience to make that a wise investment. Other than that, there aren't a ton of options. It doesn't fit for Showtime because it doesn't have any faded guys "coming back" and no one is connected to Al Haymon, and it's likely too pricy for ESPN or one of the other smaller networks. (Isn't it funny that in boxing, ESPN is a "small network"?)