In a mild upset, former Lightweight champion Brandon Rios (35-5-1, 26 KOs) was defeated by another former Lightweight champion in Humberto Soto (69-9-2, 37 KOs) on Saturday, February 23, 2019 from the Auditorio Municipal in Tijuana, Mexico.
All three judges scored the contest for Soto–119-111 and two scores of 118-112.
Rios had been looking to resurrect his career after suffering a rocky two years. After ending his near two year retirement in 2017, Rios had received mixed results in the ring.
He did look impressive in his ninth-round win over Ramon Alvarez just last year. Rios was in the midst of a three-fight deal with Eddie Hearn and was hoping that with a win over Soto would put him in the mix for a title shot.
“The main decision for me to come back was when I was watching a fight on TV and I told my wife ‘Baby, that can still be me,” said Rios in the lead up to the fight. “[I told my wife] ‘I can still do that shit. I know I can still do that shit.’
Any dreams of a title have been closed shut following his loss to the 38-year-old Soto.
From the beginning of the contest both men went to war as expected. Rios, who is six years younger than Soto, looked like the older fighter. Time and time again, Soto got the better of the exchanges.
Soto not only looked to make things a fire fight, but he also picked his spots when to box. Rios just looked a step or two slower out there as he couldn’t find any rhythm to turn his fortunes around. Rios was never in any serious trouble in the fight, but he just didn’t do enough to win.
It’s become clear that the wars Rios has engaged in his entire career have caught up to him. Soto will undoubtedly move on to bigger and better fights, while Rios will have to start all over again.
Header photo by DAZN