Timothy Bradley Jr. defeated Brandon Rios via a ninth round knockout to retain his welterweight title in front of 5,106 spectators at Thomas and Mack Center.
His persuasion to Teddy Atlas to come out of his retirement and work with him seems to have reaped huge profits in their first fight together itself.
Defeating the crowd favorite, Bradley seemed to have caught Brandon by surprise with his light footwork, speed and accurate right hand stroke before finishing him off with two knockdowns in the ninth round.
“The game plan was to take pieces from him, break him down little by little like a piranha,” said Atlas, Bradley’s trainer whom he hired after firing Joel Diaz with whom he won five career world titles.
“We had seven weeks together. I wonder what a year would do. I wonder what two years would bring. I got a knockout win against a great [former lightweight] champion in Brandon Rios, who is tough and gritty. The sky is the limit from me. Teddy said he’s coming back for my next training camp.
And that is exactly what the duo did. “That was the best Bradley I’ve ever seen, and we’ve had him for so many years,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said.
Rios initially was on the top of his game during the match and was beginning to get to Bradley but was hurt by a body shot from Bradley.
Realizing that the night ahead will be tough, Robert Gracia, Rios’ trainer said, “I was just trying to get him going. Maybe the weight loss the last few days drained him. I don’t know.”
Bradley won a whopping $ 1.9 million and Rios took home $800,000.
Rios, however, had only respect for Bradley at the end of the fight. He told Bradley, “You got me with a great body shot. You got me with a great punch. I really respect you.”
“He hit me with a perfect shot up the middle to the body and followed up with an equally good shot on the side. The better man won. I have no excuses. It is what it is,” says Rios.
Rios however has been struggling with his form, conditioning in camp and to make weight.