Top Rank PPV Preview: Rios vs. Abril, Marquez vs. Fedchenko

By: William Holmes

You can never assume anything in the sport of boxing. As enticing and exciting as it may sound, a bout between Brandon Rios and Juan Manuel Marquez is not yet set in stone.

It is highly plausible?

Yes, but they both have to get by opponents that shouldn’t present a serious threat, yet opponents that should be taken seriously.

On Saturday Top Rank will be promoting a PPV featuring two title bouts: Rios will take on Richard Abril in Las Vegas, while Marquez takes on Sergey Fedchenko from Mexico City.

If Rios and Marquez are able to win, a match-up between the both of them seems likely.

Brandon Rios (29-0-1) vs. Richard Abril (17-2-1); WBA Lightweight Title

Brandon Rios was originally scheduled to fight Yuriorkis Gamboa, but Gamboa either backed off from accepting the fight or a deal was never really in place, and Richard Abril became his next opponent.

Rios first made himself a household name by not boxing, but by being shown on camera with Antonio Margarito making fun of Freddie Roach’s Parkinson’s disease on HBO’s 24/7. He has since sincerely apologized for that incident, and he should be known for his tremendous ability in the ring.

Rios comes from a deep amateur background. He had an amateur record of 230-35, and was the 2004 U.S. National Amateur Featherweight Champion. He is also a former U.S. Olympic alternate. He was forced to vacate his WBA Lightweight title in his last fight for failing to make weight, and it shouldn’t be a shocker if this is his last fight in the lightweight division. Of his 29 victories, 22 have come by way of TKO or KO.

Rios has fought mainly quality opposition. He gave Anthony Peterson his first loss in September of 2010 with a disqualification victory, but was ahead on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage. He defeated Miguel Acosta in February of 2011 for the WBA Welterweight title, followed that fight by easily handling Urbano Antillon and John Murray in his title defenses, and has won 9 of his past 10 fights by KO or TKO.

Some fighters just seem to click well with their trainers, and Rios clicks well with his trainer Roberto Garcia.

Richard Abril doesn’t have the resume of Brandon Rios on the amateur level, nor has he fought the quality of competition that Rios has on the professional level.

Only 8 of his 17 victories have come by KO or TKO. He won the interim WBA Lightweight Title by beating Miguel Acosta with scores of 113-112, 117-109, and 115-111. Abril doesn’t have a victory over a big name opponent, but his two losses were at least to some very good boxers. He lost to Hammering Hank Lundy in January of 2010 by split decision, and was able to knock Lundy down in round six. He also lost to the man most famous for upsetting Amir Khan, Breidis Prescott, by split decision again, with scores of 92-97, 94-95, 95-94.

If anything, that tells you that Abril should be able to at least hang with Rios and make it a fight.

However, Rios should win on Saturday, and he should win easily. His penchant for attacking his opponents with volume punches will be too much of Abril to handle, and he should extend his current streak of KO or TKO victories.

Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1) vs. Sergey Fedchenko (30-1-0); WBO Junior Welterweight Title

Marquez is a boxer who receives a ton of praise from the press for his greatness, and it is well earned. He is best known for his hard fought trilogy with Manny Pacquiao, which saw him lose twice and draw once. Some believe that Marquez won some, if not all of those bouts. But you have to question any analyst who truly believes Marquez won all three fights, despite getting knocked down by Pacquiao four times.

Marquez has beaten almost everyone from the featherweight division all the way up to the lightweight division. He TKO’d Michael Katsidis in a nine round war in November of 2011. He beat baby bull Juan Diaz twice in 2009 and 2010, despite being considered old and the underdog at that time.

He defeated Joel Casamayor in 2008 when Casamayor was not quite yet completely over the hill. He nearly swept Rocky Juarez on the judges’ scorecards in 2007 in the super featherweight division. He beat Orlando Salido before Salido was made famous for his upset victories over Juan Manuel Lopez. Three of his losses came against either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr., two came early in his career, and one came against the then undefeated Chris John.

Despite being 38, Marquez has shown no signs of slowing down, and in fact looked to be in the best shape of his career in his last bout against Manny Pacquiao. Top Rank has so much confidence in him in fact, that they already scheduled him to fight on July 14th at Cowboys Stadium.

The most intriguing question of this bout is, who is he fighting?

Not much is known about Serhiy Fedchenko. He’s Ukrainian, and seven years younger than Marquez. Of his 30 victories, 13 have come by way of KO or TKO. He will be one inch smaller and will be giving up two inches in reach to Marquez. He has an impressive record, but it does not contain a list of top name opponents for him to brag about.

The only recognizable names on his fight resume is a victory over DeMarcus Corley in 2010 in the Ukraine, and a 2009 loss to Kaizer Mabuza. He lost to Mabuza by majority decision, and the scores were 114-114, 112-117, and 112-115 for Mabuza. It appears that he defeated Corley pretty easily, with scores of 120-110, 119-110, and 117-113. He won the WBO European Light Welterweight title over Willy Blain in November of 2011.

It appears that Fedchenko is another Vernon Paris: a boxer with a good-looking record, but no real substance behind it. It should also be noted that all of Fedchenko’s fights have occurred in Europe, and a vast majority of them in his home country of the Ukraine.

It would have been easier to evaluate this fight if Fedchenko had fought on American television before accepting a bout with Marquez. Marquez’s age leads me to believe that he will not be able to keep on fighting at a high level professionally much longer, but I can’t pick against Marquez when he’s fighting a questionable challenger in his home country.

Marquez should win by decision. A future victory over Brandon Rios in July should ultimately lead him to the fight that he desires so badly, but a fight that most boxing fans aren’t too excited about–another showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

Let’s just hope that we aren’t forced to watch that sequel as many times as we are made to watch the sequels to Rocky.

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