The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas is what most would describe as a luxurious resort, offering a mood of lavishness. Every inch of the Cosmo screams modern elegance with just a tint of eclectic. There’s a certain atmosphere that exudes from the decorative walls and translucent chandeliers. It’s a feeling of peace… comfort… easiness.
It’s only fitting that on Saturday, August 2nd … The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas will play host to what promises to be a brutal, vicious and ugly boxing match pitting Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-2-1, 23 KOs) against Diego “La Joya” Chaves (23-1, 19 KOs). (Note: Chaves is having Visa issues due to a backlog with the U.S Immigration Department. Right now the fight is still on but there is a chance Chaves will be replaced by undefeated Jose Zepeda. For this article's sake we will assume the Chaves fight is still a go.)
Neither one of these fighters understand the concept of moving backwards and both consider aggression to be their best defense. Both fighters are capable of walking away with victory, but the result will only be determined by whether or not we will see the return of the warrior inside of Brandon Rios.
Brandon finds himself in a tough position as a fighter. His heart and determination put him in the position he is today for both a benefit and a detriment. He’s been in wars… and walked away a victor the majority of the time.
Unfortunately the battles add up and it’s unclear as to whether that warrior still exists… and if it does still exist… how much does “Bam Bam” have left?
“This is a do or die fight for me…. I wanna get back to the position I was in before.” – Brandon Rios per twitter @Brandon_Rios1
There’s no doubt that Brandon Rios exceeded expectations as a fighter. This brawler from Oxnard, California wasn’t blessed with extraordinary hand speed or agility. From a power perspective, he’s considered to be heavy handed but not a devastating puncher. What Rios does possess… that can’t be bred or taught… is heart.
On October 13th, 2012… Brandon Rios found himself in the ring with a more skilled version of himself in Mike Alvarado. The crowd at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California witnessed an epic battle between two warriors with hearts the size of wrecking balls…
In what was voted 2012 Fight of the Year by Sports Illustrated, became a career-defining moment for Brandon Rios.
Behind on the scorecards, Rios continued to press, landing heavy shots to Alvarado’s body and head. As the rounds went by you could see Alvarado weakening. When it came to a battle of will… Alvarado’s superior boxing skills could not overcome the heart and determination of Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios. Referee Pat Russell stepped in and called a halt to the war. A bludgeoned Alvarado and victorious Rios BOTH walked away beaten fighters.
The rematch with Alvarado didn’t live up to the first fight… but still offered some great theater. It became evident that Rios gave so much in the first fight… that he could only offer what was left in the second. Alvarado won a close unanimous decision.
Nearly eight months later, we witnessed a shell of Brandon Rios in Macau, China against world-renowned Manny Pacquiao. Pac-Man boxed circles around Rios and made him look like his feet were stuck in cement.
The warrior was gone… well at least it appeared that way. Some say it was moving up in weight, while others claim Rios adapted a more defensive style to try and catch Manny walking in recklessly. Regardless, you’re only as good as your last fight… and the last time we saw Brandon Rios in the ring, he didn’t resemble the fighter we used to know.
“Believe me... I’m far from finished.” – Brandon Rios per twitter @Brandon_Rios1
So the question looms…
Will August 2nd, 2014 be the “Return of the Fallen Warrior?”
The fighter that out-wills his opponents?
The same guy who stopped a battered John Murray after 10 rough and rugged rounds?
The brawler who knocked out 10 of 12 opponents prior to the second Alvarado bout?
Or has he already surrendered all he has to offer inside the ring at the young age of 28? With an opponent like Diego Chaves, one thing’s for sure… we’ll definitely find out on Saturday night.
Follow me on Twitter: @RLMalpica