Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto (69-9-2, 37 KOs) was too crafty for Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios (35-5-1, 26 KO) in beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision on DAZN on Saturday night in a minor upset at the Auditorio Municipal, in Tijuana, Mexico.
This was supposed to have been a safe, winnable fight for former WBA lightweight champion Rios, who was not only a lot younger than the 38-year-old Soto, but a heavier as well. It didn’t matter. Soto beat Rios with his cunning to win a one-sided fight by the scores 119-111, 118-112 and 118-112. Boxing 247 scored it for Soto 118-112. Rios lost the fight and he deserved to lose it for his failure to make adjustments.
Rios’ boxing fans protested the decision on social media, complaining that he should have been given the victory, but it was hard to argue with the way the judges scored the fight.
Rios allowed Soto to steal the rounds in the last 15 seconds of each round by standing in front of him when he would open up with a blistering salvo of nonstop punches that would last until after the bell would ring. Had Rios backed off in the last 10 seconds of the rounds, he would have prevented Soto from doing this, and he likely would have a lot more rounds. That was a mistake that Rios and his trainer Robert Garcia made in this fight. They failed to make adjustments.
This was a fight between two aging former world champions. Soto is a former two division world champion, who was one of the best super featherweights and lightweights in those two divisions nine to ten years ago. Rios is a former WBA lightweight champion. He was never considered to be one of the elite fighters at 135, but he was a good one when he was able to make weight for the division. This was an exciting fight with Rios constantly coming forward throwing punch after punch at Soto.
For his part, Soto ducked and dodged the constant incoming from Rios, and countered him with hooks, uppercuts and painful looking body shots. The action nonstop. Soto couldn’t keep up with the fast pace by Rios, so he made sure used movement at times to get off of him for a rest break. However, in the championship rounds, Soto faded, and was unable to get away from Rios’ pressure like he’d done earlier in the fight. Rios was then able to land more shots, and win some rounds. But he put himself behind early by getting dominated by Soto in the first five rounds.
Those rounds were so one-sided that it put a lot of pressure on Rios to try rally in the second half of the fight, which proved to be impossible for him to do due to Soto stealing the rounds with his flurries in the last 10 seconds. When Soto was flurrying, he wan’t just throwing wild shots that weren’t landing. He was throwing punches that were hitting Rios repeatedly in the head. Rios was getting caught five to eight consecutive head shots during the flurries. You can’t win rounds when a judge sees you getting hit with repeated blows to the head in the final seconds of the rounds. Although Rios was outworking Soto during the majority of the rounds, he was getting embarrassed by the talented Mexican fighter in the last seconds of the rounds. Rios looked like he was being totally schooled during these flurries from Soto.
Soto fought like the younger guy tonight, and he kept his career alive with the big win. He looked much older than Rios, but his boxing skills were extraordinary. Not even Saul Canelo Alvarez showed the kind the kind of skills that Soto was putting on his display tonight. We saw a little of everything from Soto. He could box, slug, defend, jab, move, you name it. It was a masterful performance by Soto. If he could teach his style of fighting to other fighters, he would have a stable of world champions. Soto is pretty special. Soto might fight on after this, but it’s unclear who he can fight. It was thought that Soto would retire after the fight, but he might continue now that he’s beaten Rios. The one that might need to retire is Rios. He wanted to fight for a world title at welterweight, and win a belt before retiring. Rios’ loss tonight shows that he’s not going to fight for a world belt at 147, and definitely not going to win a title unless it’s a lower level belt. Losing to Danny Garcia in 2018 is one thing, but getting beaten by a 38-yer-old former super featherweight in Soto, that looks bad for ‘Bam Bam.’ Unless Rios’ promoter Eddie Hearn can throw a massive amount of money at one of the welterweight champions to get them to give him a world title shot, it looks like his days of fighting for world titles is officially over. Oh well, that’s how it goes sometimes.