(LAS VEGAS, NV) Miguel Acosta’s (28-4-2, 22 KOs) early brilliance was not enough to stop an unwavering Brandon Rios (27-0, 20 KOs), who marched back from an early deficit to score three knockdowns and a 10th round TKO.
Early on, Acosta had a decided edge by using handspeed and movement. The 34-year-old, WBA champion punctuated most of his attacks with looping, counter right hooks that caught Rios behind the guard. The challenger did good body work when he did get inside, but Acosta’s punches were more consistent and eye-catching.
The fourth round was Acosta’s best. The champion hurt Rios repeatedly with right and left hooks mixed to the head and body. For the first and only time, Rios was in retreat. He staged a mini-rally in the last 30 seconds, but still lost the round by a huge margin.
Instead of a death knell, Brandon Rios used that disastrous fourth round as a wake-up call. He began crowding Acosta in the fifth and forcing exchanges. He caught the champion several times with short left hooks. In round six, the momentum fully swung to Rios when he dropped Acosta with a short left jab.
Acosta was still lucid, but his resolve had wilted. For the remainder of the fight, the snap and power was absent from his punches. In every exchange, the younger Rios got the better of it. With his legs gone, Acosta against tasted the canvas in round eight, this time off a left hook after being trapped against the ropes.
The coup de grace came in the 10th, when Acosta again found himself pushed into the ropes. He made a final stand that consisted of power punches in name only; all of Acosta’s strength had evaporated and relegated his offense to arm punches. Rios landed two overhand rights to secure his third knockdown, prompting the disposed champion’s corner to stop the contest.
While his promoter Bob Arum talked of bigger fights, newly crowned WBA lightweight champion proclaimed his willingness to face anyone in his division.
“I’m ready for anyone in the 135 pound division, whoever Bob Arum puts in my way…bring ’em on,” Rios said.
“This young man is going to be a superstar,” a beaming Arum added.
(GRAND ISLAND, NE) Antonio DeMarco (25-2-1, 18 KOs) defeated a game but limited Reyes Sanchez (20-4-1, 11 KOs) in the undercard lightweight bout. DeMarco landed the cleaner and harder punches throughout, but was continually rattled by Sanchez’s unorthodox aggression and volume punching. The final scorecards were unanimous for DeMarco with scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 115-113.