Saturday's Brandon Rios-Richard Abril bout has one always-attractive element at its very core: bad blood. The fighters had a brief, salty exchange (punctuated by a few shoves and slaps) during a Miami press conference to announce a fight originally scheduled to pit Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs) against former featherweight champ Yuriorkis Gamboa. Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) used Gamboa's absence at the event to make a case for a fight against Rios by challenging him during their brief faceoff, and when Gamboa withdrew from the proposed match, the stage was set for Rios-Abril.
On Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, as part of an HBO PPV split-site doubleheader, Rios, who hails from Oxnard, Calif., will attempt to regain the lightweight crown he lost on the scales last December when he couldn't make weight before his fight against John Murray. For his part, Cuba's Abril will seek to validate his interim title in the biggest fight of his career. The styles seem to mesh well, with Rios being the active, in-fighting bulldog and Abril the wild swinger with a difficult two-fisted attack, which could throw off Rios' game and turn the fight into an interesting matchup.
With the stage set, here are five keys to victory for Rios:
Watch for the long right hand
Hook, line and sinker
Back him up
Naughty by nature
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.