Friday, April 13, 2012
Updated: April 14, 9:01 AM ET
Brandon Rios fails to make weight
By Dan Rafael
For the second consecutive time, Brandon Rios failed Friday to make the 135-pound limit for a lightweight world title fight.
Due to face Richard Abril for a vacant title Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas as part of a split-site pay-per-view card, Rios once again did not make weight.
While Abril was 135 pounds, Rios weighed 137 pounds. Given time to lose the extra weight, Rios returned to the scale about an hour later and had actually put on 2 pounds. His official weight will go down as 137.
The fight will still go on, and Abril, who holds the interim belt, can win the vacant title, but Rios cannot.
Rios will take a hit to his $450,000 purse. The Nevada State Athletic Commission fined him $45,000. Half that amount will go to the commission, and the other half will go to Abril. On top of the commission fine, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com that Rios agreed to pay Abril an undisclosed amount so he would go through with the fight at a weight disadvantage.
"Besides the fine, Richard Abril will receive a second sum of money from Brandon Rios, but I am not at liberty to say how much that is. But the fight is on," Moretti said.
"We're disappointed that he did not make the weight, of course," Moretti said. "He didn't make the weight, and the lightweight title is not there for him. So it's disappointing, but the fight is on and we move on. Let's get through [Saturday night] and then see what happens. But Abril has a tremendous opportunity in front of him."
Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) can clean up financially. His purse is $100,000, plus he will get the $22,500 from the fine and the additional payment from Rios. Also, Top Rank included a bonus in the fighters' contracts that will pay the winner of the fight an additional $50,000 on top of their purse.
Abril got the fight only when former unified featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa failed to show up for two promotional news conferences in March and pulled out of the bout. At the first news conference, in Gamboa's adopted hometown of Miami, Abril, who also lives in Miami, was on hand and got into a shoving and shouting match with Rios.
When it was clear Gamboa was not going to fight Rios, Abril was the natural replacement opponent.
"Richard Abril did one of the smartest things ever by showing up at the press conference in Miami," Moretti said. "Look where it's gotten him at this point."
In December, Rios (29-0-1, 21 KOs) was scheduled to defend his lightweight title against John Murray on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II pay-per-view undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York.
But Rios, who clearly was having trouble making weight all week, was extremely drawn when he weighed in at 136.6 pounds and could not lose the weight, causing him to be stripped of the title.
The fight went on, and Rios knocked out Murray in the 11th round.
After that weigh-in debacle, part of the agreement Rios made with Murray to go through with the fight was Rios had to weigh in a second time the following morning and was not allowed to be heavier than 146 pounds. For Saturday's fight, Moretti said there will be no secondary weigh-in, meaning Rios can put on as much weight as he wants.
Rios was seeking to reclaim the belt that had been stripped from him against Abril. After the struggle with his weight for the Murray fight, Rios and his team said he had not tried to make weight the proper way, and a new nutritionist was brought in with the plan to make 135 pounds at least once more for the fight with Gamboa (and later Abril).
It did not work, and now Rios is destined for the 140-pound weight class.
"Regardless of the outcome Saturday night, junior welterweight will be his new home," Moretti said of Rios. "He tried to make lightweight. I think he was upset and disappointed, too. It is what it is, and he'll deal with it."
The rest of the fighters on the pay-per-view made weight. Junior welterweights Mike Alvarado (32-0, 23 KOs) and Mauricio Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs) were both 140 pounds for their scheduled 10-rounder, and Mercito Gesta (24-0-1, 12 KOs) and Oscar Cuero (15-7, 12 KOs) were both on weight for their 10-round bout contracted at 138 pounds. Gesta was 138, and Cuero was 137.
The main event of the pay-per-view features Mexican star and three-division champion Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) -- in his first bout since a controversial majority decision loss to welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao in November -- facing Sergey Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) of Ukraine for a vacant interim junior welterweight belt in Mexico City. They both weighed right on the 140-pound limit.