Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios stopped Urbano Antillon in an entertaining, crowd-pleasing, action-packed three-round brawl.
Bam Bam scored two knockdowns of Antillon in the third round before referee Robert Mendoza called a halt to the action with :11 seconds left when Antillon wobbled out of a clinch.
The KO victory was Rios’ ninth in a row and should catapult him into the upper echelon of the lightweight division.
Before the fight Rios remarked that he had faced primarily boxers and started slow, but Antillon comes forward.
“He will be there and I will be at my best,” added Rios.
Rios also said the difference in the fight would be who could take a punch.
His words couldn’t have been more prophetic.
Bam Bam was at his best, and he took some leather in the first two rounds before ending matters in dramatic fashion.
In the third, and what would be final, round of the fight Rios scored the first knockdown off of a devastating left hook. Antillon would continue to try to survive and fight back, but moments later an overhand right from Rios sent him lurching head-long on to the canvas.
"I took my anger toward him into the ring," Rios said. "I thought he might make it into the later rounds, but he didn't."
Rios and Antillon showed respect for each after the fight, but their war of words before the fight spilled into the ring as each wasted little time before throwing bombs.
Antillon got under the skin of Rios with comments about Rios’s wife.
"I got caught," Antillon said. "Soto is a great champion, who has good defensive skills. Rios is very strong. He's much stronger than Soto. I just got caught."
Promoter Bob Arum named Marco Antonio Barrera as Rios’s next opponent, with a fight against Manny Pacquiao being the goal in the next couple of years.
The fight with Barrera is an interesting one considering Rios named his son after Barrera and Barrera himself was present as an announcer.
The feasibility of a clash with Pacman remains to be seen, but there are a plethora of fights for Bam Bam at 135 and 140 pounds—fellow champs Juan Manuel Marquez, Robert Guerrero, and Miguel Vazquez come to mind.
However, Marquez is already busy with fights against Likar Ramos and Pacquiao, while Guerrero is moving up in weight against Marcos Maidana. Vazquez is coming off a destruction of Marlon Aguilar.
Rios’s days at lightweight are likely numbered, and he may follow Humberto Soto and Michael Katsidis to the equally deep junior welterweight division.
Crowd-pleasing fights with Matthysse, Maidana, or even Soto himself could be on the menu before bouts with Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Timothy Bradley, or other champions in the division come to fruition.
Regardless of what the future holds for Rios, it will be bright.
The 25-year-old pugilist possesses a granite chin, an iron will, and a double-fisted attack. This victory has put him in the spotlight, and a victory in a crossroads megafight will propel him to superstardom.