By Andreas Hale | RingTV.com
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – There were concerns about whether or not Teddy Atlas could make a difference in Timothy Bradley with just seven weeks of training. Those questions were partially answered as Bradley rolled to a picturesque performance against Brandon Rios that was punctuated by a scintillating ninth-round TKO in front of a pro-Rios but also very sparse crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The knockout was impressive in itself as Bradley’s last win by stoppage came in 2011 against a faded Joel Casamayor. Before that? Nasser Athumani in 2007. The last time Brandon Rios had been knocked out? Never.
Bradley was shifty, sharp, accurate and simply a much better fighter than Rios. The only thing that you could question about the Bradley and Atlas union was who exactly was that man he fought in the ring? He looked like Rios, granted a Rios that had ballooned from 147 pounds to 170 on fight night. But when the bell rang he was flat and right there to be picked apart. Bradley obliged and used an effective blend of boxing and brawling to keep him off balance.
“The plan was to take a piece out of Rios every round and not get greedy,” Atlas said. “Take a piece, break him down and then you finish him off.”
And that’s exactly what Bradley did.
For eight rounds, Desert Storm landed the jab, put together combinations, sat in the pocket, and essentially beat Rios in every facet of the game. Each round, Bradley introduced a different part of his game. He started out of the gates fast and used aggression to surprise the bigger puncher. When Rios figured the fight would take place on the inside, Bradley popped out and shot the jab. Then he introduced body punching to Rios’ soft midsection. And as he noticed that Rios’ conditioning wasn’t up to par, he would clinch and lean on him against the ropes to squeeze whatever boxing life Rios had left. The Compubox stats tell a better story. Bradley landed 254 out of 570 punches (45%) and 54% of his power punches. Meanwhile, Rios could only land 18% of his punches (81 of 454).
By the time Round 9 began, Rios looked ripe for the taking and the 32-year-old scored his first knockout in nearly five years.
“I just did what Teddy told me to do,” Bradley said.