This past weekend, WBA junior lightweight champion Amir Khan once again elevated his status in the sport after stopping then-IBF champion Zab Judah inside of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Khan was in control throughout the contest, seizing the initiative and befuddling Judah with his speed, and saw a viscous right hand to the body end matters two minutes and forty-seven seconds into the fifth round.
So dominant was Khan that The Ring Magazine officially moved him up as the division’s number one fighter, surpassing an inactive Timothy Bradley, and the British star seems poised for a December return before a possible move to 147 pounds sometime next year. But while there is much to appreciate with the 24-year old champion, not everyone has been singing Khan’s praises.
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WBA lightweight boss Brandon Rios, a few weeks removed from a hectic 3rd round TKO over Urbano Antillon himself, took in the action this past weekend and is far from smitten towards his fellow champion.
“You know what? No disrespect to Amir Khan, I don’t see nothing special,” Rios opened up. “They’re trying to make him like this big, special thing. I’m not saying that I’m the best fighter ever, but you know what? I don’t see nothing special about Amir Khan. I’m sure that he would say the same about me, that he doesn’t’ see anything special about me.”
Rios continued, taking more of dig at the 33-year old former champion Judah than Khan.
“To me, honestly, he fought a guy, Zab Judah, who is old. He was done and over with. He acted like he didn’t want to fight no more when he got hit low. He was just looking for a payday,” said Rios.
I had to ask Rios how he would size up and fight a rangy boxer like Khan and he seemed almost offended that I would have to ask such a question.
“I’d do what I do best. I’d put my pressure and block his shots. Make sure that his shots don’t get through. That’s just the way I fought with [Miguel] Acosta,” said Rios, referring to his title-winning victory this past February.
The Oxnard, California-based Rios mentioned that he was presently relaxing and doing MRI’s on his hand after slightly injuring it during his brawl with Antillon. Some rumors have Rios returning on the November 12th trilogy fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez inside of the MGM Grand and Rios would be all for it.
“That’s what I’ve been hearing, November 12th on the Pacquiao-Marquez card. I’m not for sure, I haven’t talked to [manager] Cameron Dunkin and haven’t gotten a hold of him, but if that’s the card they want to put me on, that’s great, that’s badass. I would love to do that,” Rios exalted.
My colleague Michael Marley recently penned a piece in which he tossed around the idea of a Rios-Bradley fight in the near future, with the winner being in line for Pacquiao in 2012. For Rios that may be thinking too far ahead but you can tell from his tone that he’s simply a man who is down for whatever at this point.
“You know what? Bradley is very solid; he’s always in condition and he always comes to fight. But if that’s the line it would take to get to Pacquiao then I would be willing to take it. All I know is that when they put me in the ring on November 12th, whoever they put me in with, I will be ready 100%. I’m ready for whoever.”
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected]