- Last Updated: 5:21 AM, April 14, 2012
- Posted: 1:29 AM, April 14, 2012
Former lightweight champion Brandon Rios originally was scheduled to step into the ring tonight against unbeaten featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in a highly anticipated showdown.
It would have been one of those mini-megabouts between two undefeated rising stars. But Gamboa pulled out, leaving Rios to fight another Cuban, Richard Abril, on what has become a two-site pay-per-view broadcast ($44.95).
Along with Rios and Abril fighting for the WBA lightweight title from Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, viewers also will see veteran Juan Manuel Marquez go for a fourth world title when he challenges Sergey Fedchenko of Ukraine for the WBO 140-pound title from Mexico City.
Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., is out to regain the title he lost on the scale before his fight against John Murray of England at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3. Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) looks to be a formidable opponent, but the cocky Rios isn’t concerned.
“He’s going to run,” Rios said. “He’s going to try and run away from me all night. He talks how he’s going to punish me. If he wants to do that, he’s going to have to fight me. But I think he’s going to pull a Forrest Gump: ‘Run, Richard, run!’ ”
Top Rank president Todd duBoef announced yesterday the winner will receive a $50,000 bonus on top of his base purse.
Marquez, 38, is not only looking to add another title to his collection but position himself for a fourth fight against Manny Pacquiao. Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) lost a majority decision to Pacquiao in November. Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) enters the fight riding a 28-month winning streak.
“Juan Manuel Marquez is one of the finest fighters in the world, and many people felt that the account he gave fighting Manny Pacquiao would have won the fight that is boxing,” Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. “Hopefully, Juan Manuel is on the path right now so he can again fight Manny Pacquiao later in the year.”
In targeting Pacquiao-Marquez IV for the fall, it would seem to preclude a long-awaited bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“I have to be realistic about this,” Arum said. “I don’t think that Mayweather will be available in the fall to fight Manny. He certainly doesn’t indicate that he wants to fight Manny. I think everyone would be better off if we thought about that fight for next year.“But everything is open. First of all, Manny has a really tough fight with [Timothy] Bradley, and secondly, everybody would certainly agree that Juan Manuel deserves a rematch. Manny could chase the wild rabbit in the [Hennessy] television commercial, but as a promoter, I can’t chase a wild rabbit. I am concentrating on that if Manny can fight through to next year. We are hoping that the Mayweather fight could take place next year.”
***Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing returns to Russo’s On The Bay in Howard Beach on May 2 with VIP BOXING III. Popular heavyweight Vinny Maddalone will headline. Tickets are available in tables of 10, $3,500 for Gold seating and $2,000 for Silver. Tickets may be purchased by calling Star Boxing at 718-823-2000 or by visiting its website at StarBoxing.com. Individual tickets also are available for $200. The event includes a cocktail reception and a four-course dinner.
***Tickets go on sale today for the June 16 Tomasz Adamek-Eddie Chambers heavyweight fight at the Prudential Center. Tickets priced from $54 to $254 are available through Ticketmaster and the Prudential Center Box Office.
***The first episode of a four-part “24/7: Mayweather-Cotto” airs tonight on HBO.Follow @NYPostsports