Humberto Soto and Brandon Rios are certainly both past their prime, but anyone who tuned in to DAZN tonight got a hell of a show from Tijuana, as the two veteran warriors and former world champions battled their hearts out over 12 rounds.
In the end, it was the 38-year-old Soto getting the better of the 32-year-old Rios, winning on scores of 118-112, 118-112, and 119-111. BLH had it 116-112 for Soto.
Soto (69-9-2, 37 KO) was competing in his 81st professional fight, having turned pro in Sept. 1997. He’s years past his best days and fighting several divisions over his best weight these days, but “La Zorrita” proved he still has a little bit left in the tank with the victory.
Soto got the better of Rios (35-5-1, 26 KO) in the first half of the fight, after which Rios did put together something of a charge. But in many respects, the fight was Soto taking Rios to school, giving him a bit of a boxing lesson with a lot of veteran tricks, including his determination to steal every single round in the final 10 seconds, which clearly worked out as he got some wide scores in his favor.
There was talk of Soto perhaps retiring after this fight, as he’s old and clearly fought much of this fight fatigued. Time isn’t going to get any kinder to him, and realistically he’s done all he’s ever going to do in boxing. But this win might convince him to come back out for another one. We’ll see.
As for Rios, it’s a devastating setback. He flirted with retirement following his 2015 loss to Timothy Bradley Jr, but returned in 2017. He was knocked out by Danny Garcia in Feb. 2018, but still had hopes of getting another world title fight.
Those hopes are surely dashed with this loss. It’s just impossible to imagine any scenario where he’s any sort of real danger to the world’s top welterweights — we’re talking guys like Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and the aforementioned Garcia here. These are really high-level fighters in their prime years, and Rios is just not on that level. You have to think there’s a good chance “Bam Bam” goes back into retirement after this, because he, too, has probably achieved everything he can in the sport at this point.
But it was a good fight and we should tip our caps to a couple of guys who left everything in the ring. They reminded us once more of the sort of heart they have, the will and determination and toughness that made them both champions in thee first place.