In the end, it only took nine rounds for Timothy Bradley to find his hand raised against Brandon Rios, stopping the 29-year-old Texas native via TKO to defend his WBO welterweight title at the Thomas & Mack Center in LAs Vegas Saturday.
Bradley outlanded Rios by a wide margin in their main-event matchup, outstriking him 254-81 according to HBO’s statistics (h/t Bleacher Report). Rios never managed to find his footing in the bout, struggling to deal with a newly improved Bradley who, under the tutelage of new trainer Teddy Atlas, employed more movement in his title defense.
“The game plan was to take pieces and break him down little by little,” Atlas said. “Don’t get greedy and then by like a piranha. Take pieces every round and then finish him off.”
Many watching the broadcast admitted, while Bradley looked ever improved, Rios didn’t quite look himself. The former 140-pound titleholder also stated he wasn’t the same fighter he once was, and he was in the midst of making a major decision regarding his involvement in the sport of boxing.
“My body isn’t the same anymore,” Rios said during the broadcast. “I’ve been in a lot of wars. It might be time to hang it up.”
Still, for as off as Rios may have looked, Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum — who oversees both Bradley and Rios — couldn’t help but notice how different the champion looked in Las Vegas.
“That’s the best Bradley I’ve ever seen,”Arum said to the media following the bout (h/t Yahoo Sports).