Expert Trainer James Gogue Dissects Rios vs AntillonWritten by Joseph Herron
Every once in a while in the sport of boxing, the promoters and matchmakers put together a very fan friendly match-up which excites the senses and captures the imagination of even the harshest of critics.
This Saturday night on Showtime premium cable network, Top Rank presents WBA Lightweight Champion Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios (27-0-1, 20 KOs) versus Urbano Antillon (28-2, 20 KOs) at 10PM EST.
Both fighters are coming off of two very impressive performances; including Antillon's breathtaking performance in a valiant but losing effort against Humberto Soto, in what Ring Magazine heralded as "2010's Fight of the Year".
Both men have shared their disdain for each other publicly, and look to back it up in the squared circle on July 9th.
Expert trainer James Gogue uses his extensive boxing knowledge to breakdown this classic contest.
"Styles make fights," explains the 28 year ring veteran. "This fight is going to include everything that we love about boxing. Two pit bulls in the center of the ring who refuse to take a back step to their opponent."
"Both men like to fight physical battles to establish their dominance at close range. They're both very strong willed and their styles are very comparable to each other. Rios and Antillon are not only physically sturdy, but both combatants are mentally resilient as well."
Although Urbano Antillon has only lost two fights, both of his defeats were in title fights against champion level opposition.
"For Antillon, maybe third time's the charm," states James Gogue. "In boxing, a fighter is fortunate to receive one world title shot in his lifetime. If a fighter receives two title shots, he is lucky; and to receive a third in such a short time...Antillon is a very blessed man."
"I think he realizes that this could very well be his last title opportunity so expect him to leave everything in the ring and to go out on his shield."
The experienced trainer also notices that Antillon isn't the only fighter who is fortunate to be in this big title fight on Saturday night.
"Rios is very fortunate to be the WBA champion right now," professes James Gogue. "He didn't start taking this sport seriously and fighting to his true potential until he knocked out Jorge Teron in February of 2010 on network television."
"Before that fight, he was your classic underachiever and had a very poor work ethic. Since that time, he has really turned his life around and surrounded himself with good people like Cameron Dunkin, Robert Garcia, and his wife Vicky. He is training and fighting like a champion now."
Expert trainer James Gogue predicts that unlike recent fights on network television, this championship bout will not disappoint and is a "must see" for all fight fans.
"This fight is going to be a real barn-burner due to the styles of both fighters."
"Antillon is a straight forward fighter with a real killer instinct in the ring," claims James Gogue. "He is a 'take no prisoners' type of warrior who loves to put pressure on his opponents."
The veteran trainer recognizes certain changes made by the 28 year old Mexican fighter, which he feels will increase his chances for success.
"Since being knocked out by Miguel Acosta in July of 2009, Antillon has been training with veteran coach Abel Sanchez. He is a very good trainer who has been in the boxing industry for a while now. A few years ago, Abel built this high altitude training facility at Big Bear Lake and he trains all of his fighters there."
"Because of the training regimen at such altitude and being under the tutelage of Abel Sanchez, Antillon is coming into the fight in his best possible shape. Through experience, I have found that sparring one round at that altitude is like sparring three rounds at sea level and doing one mile of road work at Big Bear is like doing three at sea level."
"Antillon's conditioning could be a huge factor in this fight," insists James Gogue.
Although Gogue recognizes the mental and physical toughness of the challenger, he also realizes the underrated technical brilliance of Brandon Rios.
"Brandon Rios is probably the most proficient inside fighter since Jose Luis Castillo," insists James Gogue. "He throws such short, crisp textbook combinations on the inside; the short hooks and body shots followed by his double right uppercuts are classic inside combinations. He is a master at throwing such beautiful combinations on the inside."
"We haven't seen such accuracy and precision on the inside since "El Temible" was in his prime. Brandon is very technically sound. One of the keys to his success is his underrated jab that he uses very well to work his way inside of a fighters defense to set up those combinations."
"Both fighters don't plan on boxing each other," states James Gogue. "They plan on testing each other's heart and will in this fight. This is going to be a brutal war of attrition."
"Right now, I feel that Rios has the edge in skill. He is more technically sound than Antillon on the inside and can fight better at medium range with his superior jab. This will prove to be a big factor in the fight."
"When Antillon has his moments in the fight, Rios can step outside and battle at medium range to regain control of the fight with his jab and one-two combination punching from the outside," acknowledges James Gogue.
What makes this fight so appealing for most boxing fans, is that the game plan for both fighters is relatively simple and easy to appreciate.
"The key in Urbano Antillon winning this fight is to back Brandon Rios up," states Gogue. "He has to keep moving forward in order to have any chance in this fight. If he allows Brandon Rios to push him back and dictate the action, he has absolutely no chance in winning the WBA title."
"He's not that proficient of a boxer to fight on his heels or at a distance. He is an 'in your face' type of fighter who works the body effectively. Antillon's only real chance is to try and punish Rios to the body and take advantage of those times when he has Rios winded or hurt."
"Urbano has to throw combinations on the inside and turn him in a small circle and keep punching while turning him," proclaims the experienced trainer. "He needs to step around him often after he fires those body shots and combinations. If he simply stands right in front on Rios, he will get brutally punished with better technique and power."
Although difficult to execute against a tough fighter like Antillon, Rios' game plan is straight forward as well.
"Rios simply has to fight like he is accustomed to fighting," states James Gogue. "He has to establish his dominance on the inside early with his short hooks and superior combination punching."
"He has to use his technical superiority on the inside as well by fighting Antillon at angles. Urbano is going to try and force his will and aggression on Rios. That's when Brandon has to take a step back and fire shots at angles to stop Antillon from taking control of the action."
"He absolutely cannot retreat going straight back against a fighter like Antillon," claims Gogue. "He can step to the right or left and fire off one of his uppercuts, catching Antillon as he's coming in."
"He can also pivot around Urbano and throw the left hook, right hand combination effectively. He has more technical options than the challenger and will have to use every single one of them throughout the entire fight."
After carefully analyzing both fighters, trainer James Gogue makes his final fight prediction.
"This fight will be like a classic football game where the winner has to dominate the line of scrimmage," states the veteran trainer. "Whoever dominates the line of scrimmage will more than likely win this fight."
"Both men are very physically and mentally strong fighters, but I feel that Brandon Rios simply has the edge in too many areas in this match-up. He has the advantage in power and technical skills."
"The only edge that Antillon has in this fight is conditioning, which could be a factor in the later rounds, but I feel that Rios is just a much better fighter at this stage of his career. I feel that the conditioning will simply allow Antillon to take more punishment than he ordinarily could."
"I predict that Rios will stop Antillon in the later rounds."
Regardless of the outcome, expect a tremendous fight on Showtime this Saturday at 10 PM EST.
Joseph Herron, Eastside Boxing
Photos by: Chris Farina/Top Rank