What Now For Brandon Rios And John Murray?

By James Slater: Brandon Rios, who lost his WBA lightweight title on the scale ahead of his fight with Britain’s John Murray, kept his unbeaten record with an 11th-round TKO over the brave former European champ last night, but his 135-pound days are almost certainly over.

Oxnard’s Rios was given a good run for his money by Manchester’s Murray, in the early rounds especially, before “Bam Bam” proceeded to bust his man up around the eyes in the 5th and 6th-rounds. Murray, his face covered with blood, refused to even think about quitting due to the damage Rios’ heavy hands had inflicted on him, and we were witness to a gutsy effort. In the end, however, Rios was able to overwhelm Murray, blasting him with a series of unanswered head shots that prompted the ref to dive in. It was a good stoppage.

Murray, who has now lost two in a row, both by stoppage, proved his heart last night but he may be destined to rule at European level only. Not a lethal puncher, 26-year-old Murray, now 31-2(18) was simply unable to put a dent in the man a year his junior. Against the other world rulers at 135-pounds, Murray may have the same problem. The exciting, give-his-all warrior can still enjoy a good, significant career, but his immediate future looks to be at domestic and European level.

A rematch with Kevin Mitchell would prove attractive to the fans, as perhaps would the idea of Murray going in with fellow Manchester man Anthony Crolla, who holds the British title. Murray needs a good long rest first, though.

As for Rios, 29-0-1(22), he will almost certainly make the move up to 140 for his next fight. Rios was talking about moving up before his problems at the scale on Friday; he’s sure to find the idea of putting on an extra five-pounds even more appealing now. There could be some terrific fights for “Bam Bam” at light-welter. The idea of Rios Vs. Marcos Maidana (who actually fights up at 147 next, against Devon Alexander), Amir Khan (if Khan sticks around at 140, which looks unlikely unfortunately), Timothy Bradley and even Erik Morales is enough to get fans in a lather.

Rios seems destined to become a big star if he maintains discipline (something he didn’t do whilst training for last night’s rumble) and can keep his head. An admitted “bad boy,” Rios looks like a fighter who will be exciting us for at least a few years.

Article posted on 04.12.2011

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