By James Slater: Though he busted his right hand in the 8th-round of the great action fight he eventually won in the 10th-round against a brave Miguel Acosta, the handlers of the new WBA lightweight champ are already discussing who his next fight might be against.
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, who spoke with Rios’ manager Cameron Dunkin, the unbeaten 27-0-1(19) warrior could be out of action for a few months due to the severe break he suffered in the FOTY candidate on Saturday night.
“He’s going to be in a cast for awhile and I know how these things go,” Dunkin said. “I don’t see him fighting again for four to five months.”
As exciting as Rios is to watch, this news is a bad break (forgive the pun!) for both he and the fans. Rios loves to rumble, the fans love to watch him rumble! But, when he does return, who could he be defending his new belt against?
According to Dunkin, Top Rank boss Bob Arum mentioned three possible names; the only one being announced as an option so far being Marco Antonio Barrera. As was the case when it was announced that Erik Morales, that other ageing Mexican legend, was to fight the dangerous Marcos Maidana, fans may cringe at the idea of the 37-year-old Barrera going in with a young and hungry fighter like Rios.
Barrera, wanting to beat former archrival Morales to it when it comes to being the first Mexican fighter to win world titles at four different weights, was at one time looking at a possible fight with countryman Humberto Soto, the holder of the WBC title at 135-pounds. Most fans felt that fight had the look of a very tall order for Barrera, 67-7(44) – what will they think about Marco’s chances against the 24-year-old Texan known as “Bam Bam?”
If the fight happens, and if Rios has suffered no permanent hand damage that restricts his punching power, it’s hard to envisage anything but a win for the defending champion. Barrera, like Morales (on April 9th against Maidana) could be in for a pain-filled, humbling stoppage loss later this year.
Let’s see who the other possible challengers for Rios are. At his age, with all his wear and tear, there has to be a better option than Barrera. As great as he is. Or was.