(Chris Farina/Top Rank)
Tonight’s fight between WBA Champion, Miguel Acosta (28-3, 22 KOs) vs Brandon Rios (26-0, 19KOs) figures to be one great fight. Both fighters weighed in at 134.5lbs. Tonight’s fight is more than just a championship fight, its about proving to themselves and to the greater boxing community that they belong in the elite lightweight division.
Both fighters caught people’s attention. Acosta by knocking out back then undefeated fighter, Urbano Antillon in the 9th round and Rios by defeating undefeated fighter Anthony Peterson in a fight where Peterson was disqualified for his low blows.
Miguel Acosta is a Venezuelan fighter who has demonstrated tremendous punching power. He knocked out Paulus Moses who was also undefeated. Acosta is a power puncher who uses his jab well but his weapon of choice seems to be his righ upper cut.
Bam Bam Rios is an aggressive fighter who wears his opponents down. Rios is the type of fighter who will put pressure and try to wear down his opponents.
On paper, people expect for Acosta to win the fight, not just because he is the champion but because he has more power than Rios. I expect Rios to fight a very smart fight. He has to be careful with Acosta’s upper cuts especially his right upper cut. Rios should put pressure on Acosta and work the body. He should try to cut the ring and see if he can catch him against the ropes. If he does, he has to be very careful because Acosta can be a very good counter puncher as well. Rios has a better chance at winning the fight if he fights inside. If the fight is fought at a distance and Rios has a hard time working inside and landing body shots, then Acosta will be able to cruise with a decision. Rios has a chance at wearing down Acosta by targetting the body and putting pressure throughtout the whole fight. Another thing to consider is conditioning. Which boxer will be the most conditioned? Fights where one is expected to keep a strong pace from the opening bell are fights that are won by the fighter who is well conditioned. The fighter that gets tired first and the one that drops his defense and makes a mistake is the fighter that will lose.
I don’t expect this fight to end in a knock out. If it does, then chances are that Acosta has the better possibility. Acosta should use his upper cuts and his power punches as an advantage. Rios on the other hand, needs to keep the pressure, avoid those upper cuts and work the body. I think this is going to be a very close fight. I am rooting for Rios via decision.