At the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada this past Saturday night Timothy Bradley stopped Brandon Rios in the ninth round with an accumulation of body shots. Bradley had one of the best performances of his career and his union with Teddy Atlas may be the resurgence his career needed.
Bradley comes out in the first jabbing and throwing to the body. The size difference between the fighters is immediately apparent. Bradley’s jab in the first is allowing him to go inside on Rios and land body punches. Rios gets on the inside of Bradley and the fight turns into an inside battle for a minute. Bradley did what he wanted to do in that round and fought a perfect round except for those brief moments on the inside. The second round Bradley again came out throwing jabs. Bradley’s strategy seemed to be to keep Rios on the outside with the jab, then come in and land power punches. Bradley began to clinch Rios anytime he got on the inside. By the middle of the round Rios was able to keep Bradley on the inside and landed some clean right hands. Bradley as always was game to stay on the inside and even backed Rios up against the ropes to trade in-close.
The fight was turning more into a fight that Rios could take advantage of in the third. The stretches on the inside lasted longer, but Bradley was able to land the cleaner punches while in the pocket. Rios was better served to keep the fight inside, but looked like the lesser fighter there. In between rounds Teddy Atlas was adamant about Bradley keeping his focus for the whole round. More movement from Bradley came in the fourth and he was out working Rios all round. Bradley found a home with some overhand rights and body shots that hurt Rios. Rios may have been waiting for Bradley to wear himself out as he was spending a lot of energy, but Rios was not winning the rounds where he was being outworked.
The fifth round was a great round for Bradley. He was able to keep the fight on the outside and when the fighters did get on the inside Bradley got the better of Rios. Bradley whether on the inside or outside was able to out-land Rios with power punches. Bradley used his height to his advantage on the inside as Rios smothered much of his work. Rios wasn’t able to catch Bradley at any distance.
Bradley came out in the seventh round and threw combinations at Rios. Rios seemed discouraged and just couldn’t get off on Bradley whatsoever. Rios even seemed annoyed at a low punch thrown by Bradley, but had no enthusiasm to get back at Bradley. In between rounds Teddy Atlas gave another quotable as he explained to Bradley that “they were firemen who weren’t afraid of the heat”. Rios was even slower in the eighth and allowed Bradley to take a round off. Bradley still was busier than Rios and didn’t allow him to land anything. The uppercut came out as a weapon for Bradley in the ninth round along with some great body shots. Bradley ended the fight with some amazing body shots on Rios. Rios looked discouraged getting up from the first knockdown, but got up and was then immediately stopped with another barrage of body shots from Bradley. The fight was stopped at the 2:49 mark of the ninth round. This was Bradley’s best performance since the Juan Manuel Marquez fight, but was even more dominating with the level of focus he displayed. Hopefully more match ups with fellow welterweights can be made with the likes of Kell Brook or some of the Al Haymon promoted fighters such as Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. HBO made much about a third match up with Manny Pacquiao possibly taking place based off of Bradley’s performance. While their first two fights weren’t exactly bad fights, I think most fans would rather see them take on other challenges.
“You know what I seen I hurt him early to the body. I wanted to get him not thinking about it for a while. Then I went back downstairs. We were working in the gym on this side step hook to the body. I caught him right in the solar plexus and heard him grunt and I just went to the body and he went down.” Bradley told HBO’s Max Kellerman in their post fight interview.
“I got a lot to learn I’ve had seven weeks of training with Mr. Atlas. You see I looked great tonight. A lot of the things he showed me did work tonight. It’s only been seven weeks; I wonder what one year or two years would bring. I got a knockout win over a great champion and great opponent in Brandon Rios. The sky is the limit. Teddy already said that he’s coming back to train for my next training camp. “ – Bradley added.
“My body is not the same no more. I been in a lot of wars. You know what I think it’s time to hang it up. I think its’ done. It was a great run but I think that’s it. It is what it is. I don’t want to hurt my body and my family. After an eight month layoff, its bullshit. To come back in the gym it wasn’t the same. At the end of the day when I tried to get back in my body wasn’t reacting the same. So it is what is and I think it’s done for me and hang up gloves and call it a night.” An emotional Brandon Rios told Max Kellerman in the post fight interview.