Brandon Rios knows he's in tough when he faces Tim Bradley next month, but has some confidence knowing that he's been in with a better fighter, Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao-Rios was basically a whitewashing, but Rios says he's grown from his first experience on the big stage and he's mentally prepared for what's in store when he faces Bradley.
"Bradley is no Pacquiao. We all know that, but Bradley will be the second-best fighter I have ever faced," said Rios.
Evaluating Bradley's last performance, Rios thinks that Jessie Vargas waited too long to get started on Bradley, and that's what ultimately cost Vargas the victory in that fight.
"Jessie Vargas waited too long in his fight against Bradley. Vargas let Bradley do what wanted he wanted to do except for the final seconds of the fight. I fought Alvarado earlier this year and was in the best shape of my life. I have accomplished a lot in boxing.
"This is a big fight and for me and it's about more than the money and the title -- it's about winning -- beating Bradley," he added.
I have to admit that much to my surprise, many folks are giving Rios a better shot in this fight than I am. Rios has shown a vulnerability to fighters with good boxing skills (Pacquiao, Alvarado - when he boxed, and Abril) and Bradley certainly has that skillset. The only possible way I see Bradley losing this one is if he allows Rios to drag him into a slugfest -- but we'll have to see what, if any, changes Teddy Atlas has instilled in Bradley during their newfound pairing.