LAS VEGAS — The karma couldn’t be better for Timothy Bradley has he got a new trainer and returned to an arena where many thought he has his definitive performance two years ago.
But the highly regarded Bradley exceeded everyone’s expectation when he knocked out Brandon Rios with punishing body shots in the ninth round to score the first knockout victory for the Desert Storm since 2011.
It was such a thorough defeat that Rios said he thinks the loss ended his career.
It was the first fight Bradley was trained by Teddy Atlas. And the fight was the second for Bradley. In his first appearance, Bradley defeated future Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez by majority decision.
During the rounds, Atlas kept urging Bradley to take a piece of Rios every round “like a piranha.”
Bradley was quicker to the punch all night and landed much more than Rios. Bradley landed 254 punches to Rios’ 81. On the three judges’ scorecards, Bradley won every round before the fight was stopped.
Also, Bradley demonstrated a very active and effective left hand that scored up points up top and helped open things up down low for the body shots.
Promoter Bob Arum said this is the most impressive Bradley has looked since they started promoting him in 2011.
At the start of the night, Bradley was heavily booed when he was introduced by Michael Buffer. But by the seventh round, Bradley had won over the crowd with his precision.
Rios came into the fight struggling to make weight, as he was at 147.2, or .2 above the contracted weight, but would make weight an hour later.
Entering the ring, Bradley, who weighed in at 146, hydrated to 155, while Rios ballooned to 170. It appeared Rios wanted to come in heavy so he could smother Bradley, but he couldn’t catch him or deal with his movement.