Former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios is back training at full strength and looking for a fall fight, according to Cameron Dunkin, the fighter's manager.
Rios was supposed to fight Mauricio Herrera in a junior welterweight bout July 7 on HBO at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., but he withdrew because of a nagging right elbow problem. The bout was canceled, and former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik got the spot against Will Rosinsky on the undercard of the Nonito Donaire-Jeffrey Mathebula junior featherweight title unification bout.
But Dunkin told me that Rios saw his doctor Monday and was cleared to resume full training.
"This thing with his elbow goes back to last year," Dunkin said. "It's been irritating him. The doctor told him to stop, just sit down and let it heal, so that's what he did. He got clearance Monday that he could train as hard as he could."
Rios, 26, of Oxnard, Calif., had aggravated the elbow in a sparring session in mid-June while training for the fight with Herrera.
"Brandon had a swollen elbow and some kind of inflammation," Dunkin said. "The doctor wanted him to rest it and ice it. He said the only thing that was going to fix it was time to let it heal. They told him that if he continued to irritate it that it was going to turn into tendinitis or something. He could have had a real problem. But it's good news. He's healthy and [has] been working out. But he wasn't using that arm like he should. Now he can use it. Brandon said, 'Please, just get me a date. I'm ready to fight.' "
Rios (30-0-1, 22 KOs) was forced to move up to the 140-pound junior welterweight division after failing to make the lightweight limit of 135 pounds for two consecutive fights: a title defense against John Murray in December that resulted in Rios being stripped of the belt (but getting an 11th-round knockout win) and an April fight for the still-vacant belt against Richard Abril (which Rios won via highly controversial split decision but was again ineligible to win the title).
With Rios back training and his elbow woes seemingly behind him, Dunkin said he and Top Rank president Todd duBoef have been discussing potential fights.
"We're trying to figure out what makes sense," Dunkin said. "There are some big shows coming up with HBO cards and pay-per-view cards. We'll find something for him in the fall. He's got to fight somebody, fight real tough and get back on top."