Bradley KO’s Rios
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Timothy Bradley won a fight he needed badly Saturday night, stopping Brandon Rios in the ninth round to stake his claim for a title in a welterweight division that is wide open following Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s retirement.
Bradley (33-1-1) dominated from the opening bell against a sluggish Rios (33-3-1), using his speed and superior boxing skills to win round after round before suddenly dropping Rios with a left hook to the body in the ninth round. Rios got up at the count of eight but offered no resistance to Bradley when the fight resumed and quickly went down under another flurry of punches at 2:49 of the round.
Bradley retained his piece of the 147-pound title with an impressive performance under new trainer Teddy Atlas. He won every round on all three ringside scorecards but hadn't seemed to seriously hurt Rios before the fight came to a sudden end.
Perhaps more importantly, Bradley served notice that he's a name to be reckoned with in the 147-pound division. He might have even been impressive enough to get a third fight against Manny Pacquiao sometime next spring in what would be Pacquiao's last fight.
“That's the best Bradley I've ever seen,'' said Bob Arum, who promotes both fighters.
Bradley brought in Atlas, more known recently as a ringside announcer for ESPN, to sharpen his skills and stop him from getting hit too much.
It worked to perfection in a fight that Bradley controlled from the first punch.
``I did exactly what Teddy told me to do,'' Bradley said. ``I took a piece of him every round.''
Bradley set the pace for the fight right away, landing a series of head shots early in the first round. Rios, who ballooned up in weight after Friday's weigh-in, plodded forward trying to land a big punch but was never able to land more than one shot at a time.