By Tom Donelson
Some of the world best lightweights fought this past Saturday night with Brandon Rios challenging for Miguel Acosta WBA belt whereas Antonio DeMarco fought Reyes Sanchez in an eliminator for a future title bout.
Miguel Acosta had knocked out two undefeated fighters (Paulus Moses and Urbano Antillon) in a row on his way to winning the WBA title and he faced yet another undefeated and rugged Brandon Rios for his first defense of the title.
Acosta came out in the first round, boxing masterfully as he consistently nailed Brandon Rios with lead right hands and sharp jabs. Rios simply followed Acosta and failed to cut off the ring effectively and this allowed Acosta to dominate the early rounds easily.
In the fourth round, Miguel Acosta connected on effective combinations at the end of the round as he forced Brandon Rios to retreat and a nasty right hand buckled Rios knees. At the beginning of the fifth round, Rios land a solid right hand followed by a left hook but he still caught getting hit by Acosta arsenal of right hands and left hook. After five rounds, it looked like Acosta had Rios figured out whereas Rios simply looked like he was walking into a buzz saw.
Rios strategy was to take the fight into the later rounds but this strategy looked shaky as Acosta appeared to have his way but in the sixth round, this changed with one punch. Starting in the sixth round, Rios threw an effective left uppercut as he trapped Acosta on the rope but Acosta snapped a five punch combination to escape but this was only momentarily. Rios nailed Acosta with a left hook to the body, followed by a left hook to the head and then a stiff left jab sent Acosta down. Acosta beat the count and effectively fought back over the last thirty seconds but Rios scored a 10-8 to get back in the fight.
While Acosta fought more effectively in the seventh round but Rios continued the pressure and at the end of the eight round; a double left hook send Acosta down for the second time. From this point, the fight changed for good as Acosta punches no longer had the snap to force Rios back and Rios jumped on Acosta as both fighters fought inside. Acosta still threw the more accurate punches but they no longer had much impact whereas Rios ripped body shots that simply took what energy left in Acosta.
Starting in the tenth round, Rios bulled his way and forced Acosta back to the rope. When Rios trapped Acosta in the rope early in the fight, he got nailed with solid combinations but in the tenth, Acosta could no longer escape. Rios nailed Acosta with an right hand followed by a left hook to the body and a clubbing right hand sent Acosta down for good as his corner ended the fight.
Miguel Acosta is a talented fighter and put on a show for the first five rounds but Brandon Rios showed a great chin. He fought a fighter who already knocked out two other previous undefeated fighters as an underdog so Rios showed his toughness by taking Acosta best shots before winning.
In the first fight, Antonio DeMarco looked to win and earn another shot at a title as he fought fellow Mexican fighter Reyes Sanchez. This was a strange fight as DeMarco was the more schooled fighter and in the opening round, a DeMarco straight left open cut over Sanchez right eye but by the third round, Sanchez started to turn the fight into a brawl.
When DeMarco fought on the outside, he easily dominated but he often allowed Sanchez to trap him on the rope. DeMarco often countered effectively off the rope and many of Sanchez were either blocked or simply didn’t have the pop to hurt DeMarco. However, Sanchez kept coming and throughout most of the second half of the fight, the fight was fought on the ropes.
Reyes Sanchez forced DeMarco to fight his fight and yet DeMarco managed to win but hardly impressively. For DeMarco, this was suppose to be his showcase fight to prove that he deserved another title shot but while he won, he hardly looked impressive as Sanchez consistently forced DeMarco to fight off the rope.
The night belonged to Brandon Rios, who showed that he is an exciting fighter who fights with abandon and grit. He never gave up against an elite lightweight and won his first title.