by Paul Magno
In a month with a Klitschko-Peter title fight, the Mosley-Mora pay-per-view, Mexican Independence Day cards, and some damn fine European action, the best fight of the month is getting literally zero press.
September 11th, on the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Orlando Salido HBO undercard, Anthony Peterson (30-0, 20 KOs) takes on Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (24-0-1, 18 KOs) in a can’t miss action fight.
Forget that this is officially a WBA eliminator for a shot at their version of the lightweight title. This is the type of bout that boxing fans always claim to lust after. It’s a battle between two talented and hungry twenty-somethings on the way up. Both undefeated and fresh, neither Peterson nor Rios know how to lose. Defeat is, literally, not an option for these two fighters and they both carry themselves accordingly, with the youthful bluster of self-confidence.
Consider it East vs. West as Rios’ West Coast hunt and attack style meets Peterson’s smooth and fluid East Coast groove. Both fighters have legitimate main stage skill and, to add intrigue, both also have legit one-punch power.
Peterson, born and raised on the streets of Washington DC, has long been regarded as one of boxing’s best young talents. A contemporary of Andre Ward and Andre Berto, the 25-year old talent is poised to step out of the shadow of non-televised undercards and questionable match-ups on third-rate TV networks. Along with his older brother, Lamont, Peterson is ready, willing, and able to leap into the spotlight and steal the show on September 11th.
For Peterson, a young fighter who has risen from homeless shelters and nights of fitful slumber at Greyhound bus stations, success is never taken for granted. He’s hungry, motivated and ready to write the next chapter of his already incredible Cinderella story.
Rios, on the other hand, has enjoyed a higher profile in the boxing rich state of California. The Lubbock, TX born, Oxnard, California resident, like Peterson, was a highly decorated amateur star with an amazing record of 230-35 and a reputation as a “can’t miss” prospect. Now, six years into his career, “Bam Bam” is on the verge of breaking through to that next level and September 11th’s bout for a shot at the WBA strap is his ticket to a better life.
In the ring, Rios is a heat seeking missile with equal parts precision, aggression, and class. His lone setback was a lackluster draw with Manuel Perez in 2008 that was brutally avenged via TKO 7 one year later. Since that draw, Rios is 6-0 with 6 KOs.
Both notorious gym rats, Rios and Peterson are in their physical primes, motivated, in shape and meeting at the same level in their careers. Both decorated amateur stars and undefeated pros, they need this win and there’s no doubt that the end result of this match-up will be something truly compelling.
Apologies to Juan Manuel Marquez, Michael Katsidis and Humberto Soto, but this September 11th showdown could very well be considered a clash between the lightweight division’s two best fighters.
Kudos to Top Rank for making this kind of intriguing and risky bout.
Shame on those who choose to ignore it.