Why Brandon Rios will land KO blow against Timothy Bradley
The hard-hitting Texan should become world champion when he fights the current belt WBO welterweight title holder in Las Vegas on Saturday
They say a world champion is never a true world champion until after their first defence.
However, in Timothy Bradley’s case, the American never actually fought for his title in the first place.
The 32-year-old was given the WBO Welterweight title when Floyd Mayweather was forced to relinquish his WBO belt earlier this year.
Technically, therefore, Bradley will defend his title for the first time under the Las Vegas lights at the Thomas and Mack Center on Saturday.
The Californian can make a claim that he deserves his world title.
He cannot be accused of taking the easy route in his career, either, establishing himself as one of the world's best welterweights by fighting and beating the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov.
A true warrior, his all-out aggressive style has won the hearts of boxing fans globally.
At times, though, it has also left him vulnerable and exposed to receiving unnecessary punishment - something Bradley can’t afford to do against the hard-hitting Brandon Rios this weekend.
Rios is extremely tough. The 29-year-old loves to scrap and boasts an impressive 67 per cent KO ratio, making him one of the sport’s most dangerous welterweights.
However, the Texan’s only major step up to elite level previously came against Manny Pacquiao.
He was completely outclasses from start to finish, which is something he will have to overcome if he wants to strip Bradley of his title.
It could be argued Bradley’s main strength is also his weakness.
His fearless style has caused him to upset one of this era’s most spectacular fighter’s in Pacquiao, where he enjoyed large spells of success before being awarded a rather dubious points win.
However, Bradley’s all-out-attack mentality causes him to be so open in defence and he has been close to being stopped on several occasions against big-hitters Provodnikov and Vargas in his most recent fight.
To Desert Storm’s credit, though, he has battled through and showed great heart to win.
Bradley is not the biggest of punchers - his KO ratio is just 34 per cent - although he has great reach for a small fighter.
The key for him is eluding Rios’ big punches and if he can somehow improve on his defence, a points win at 2/5 is possible.
But Bradley’s style is absolutely ideal for Rios.
In the past, Bam Bam has struggled against slippery boxers who are very hard to hit - Pacquiao, for example.
This is unlikely to be the case against Bradley, however, who is notoriously always up for a scrap.
If he is as open as usual and Rios is able to connect, it can be a devastating win for the Texan.
Rios is 5/1 to win by KO - which would be the 25th of his career - on Saturday and crown himself world champion.