Rios to Rise at Club Phoenix
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Feb 4, 2012) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Golden Boy Promotions)
Juan Manuel Marquez
This time last year, featherweight prospect Ronny Rios (who faces Jeremy McLaurin at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim, California, as the main event on this week’s edition of Telefutura’s “Solo Boxeo”) didn't know if his boxing career was coming to a premature end. He had tested positive for Hepatitis-C  (which would've forced him to retire from the sport). Eventually, it was discovered that it was a false-positive and Rios was free to ply his trade as a prizefighter.
In 2011, he resumed his activity in the ring and continued his progress. His first outing took place last May, an eight-round decision over Georgi Kevlishvili. It was the first of three victories for Rios in 2011.

“It felt real good,” said the 22-year-old native of Santa Ana. “We had a tough opponent; he had only one loss at the time and I felt like the fight went well. I did have a laceration over my left eye, so that kinda bothered me a little bit but I sucked it in and got through the adversity.”
When asked if he appreciates this game any more than he did before, Rios answers, “Yeah, but I've always appreciated boxing. I mean, there comes a time when you want to take a little break, just rejuvenate the batteries. But I've always loved the competition, the outcome and just getting ready for a fight, all the anxiousness and nervousness. It's good nerves that you can't get anywhere but it's relieving to get back in there and actually I've had five months off. It's one of the longest layoffs I've had.”
Rios ended his 2011 campaign with a hard-fought and close decision over veteran Roger Gonzalez in late September in his stiffest test to date. His manager, Frank Espinoza, said of that night, “He made a few mistakes in that fight but he learned a lot from it. I had him winning the fight but that was a tough challenge that will make him better in the long run.” Like Luis Ramos, Rios is trained by Hector Lopez and managed by Espinoza. Like his stablemate, 2012 is a key development year.

“I gotta take it one fight at a time, so I'm really taking this guy seriously,” said Rios, who has a record of 16-0 with seven knockouts to his credit. “I never, ever, ever look past anybody. So after [McLaurin]- and I can't say anything till we get after him, we gotta get that ‘W’ first- and then hopefully, everything will look brighter this year.”
While Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Eric Gomez sees similarities between Rios and Ramos, he points out, “It's a little different though; he suffered a real bad injury in his last fight. He had like a fractured orbital [bone], so we're going to take it a little easier with him. See how he does, see how he feels in his next fight and then we'll go from there. He's a little younger than Luis and just as talented. He was moving along just like Luis was but I think we have to be a little more careful with Ronny because he had some time off and we don't want to rush him. But he's there, also. He's one of our top prospects.”
Regarding Rios’ foe this weekend, Gomez said, “[Rios] is not in easy, [McLaurin]'s a pretty tough guy. He's never been knocked out. But we'll see.”
How far as Rios come since turning professional in 2008?
“Maturity-wise, I think I still have some ways to go,” is how he put it. “I feel like my body is one of those late bloomers. But skill-wise, I feel like I'm sharpening up my game a little bit. I'm adding a little more pop nowadays. I mean, my speed is going to be there unless I put on massive weight. I'm talking about like a bodybuilder. The speeds still there. It's just all about experience to get through tough adversity, how to find little ways to trick your opponent into making mistakes.”
Last year, Rios was a fighter with an uncertain future. Now he's a boxer looking to build one.
“If he develops and he moves along the way we're trying to get him at, we could see him in an important fight by the end of the year. Some sort of eliminator, some sort of meaningful regional belt,” said Gomez.
Espinoza states, “In another year, I suspect he'll be in position to be around the top ten in the world. We just want to see how he progresses and then we'll make a determination on what we want to do but there's no rush.”
When the main event bout gets scratched from a major show, it has repercussions that extend to the undercard. When the rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto was scratched from February 11th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, it meant that boxers like junior welterweight hopeful Antonio Orozco lost an assignment.
Espinoza was at the Maywood Boxing Club earlier this week watching his fighter prepare for a fight that's not to be. As for rescheduling plans, the respected manager told Maxboxing, “Nothing yet. I got a call from Eric Gomez last night (Monday) and he gave me the bad news that Berto wasn't able to fight and so now, it's a disappointment for my fighter, I'm sure for every fighter that was on the card. We're looking forward to fighting soon. We're going to sit down with Golden Boy and see what the plans are.”


It's being reported that Berto will need approximately eight to 12 weeks to recover from his left bicep tear. Now it's not clear if that means he'll be ready to fight by then or if that's just the rehabilitation process. So the question is, will this anticipated rematch be rescheduled or will Ortiz look in another direction for the time being?

According to his adviser, Roland Arellano, “We would like to do that fight but it's still too early on. We'll see what the recovery period is. We can't wait for him a year or 18 months or anything like that. If it's something reasonable- like remember when Oscar [De La Hoya] hurt himself before the fight with Fernando [Vargas]?- we'll stand pat because it's a good fight. The public wants it; we want it and we want Berto to get well.”

Arellano, who was at one point, Vargas’ manager, says that their preference is to “absolutely” reschedule the Berto fight as soon as possible. In an email, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer stated that they were “working on rescheduling it.”

I wonder if they will look for a new venue for this event. It was no secret that Ortiz-Berto II was struggling mightily at the box-office of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
So what will GBP do with their wayward prospect, Frankie Gomez?
“We have a meeting set up for the end of the week or early next week and we're going to sit down with him and get to the bottom of everything,” said Eric, who is not related to Frankie. “There's so many things going on, so much speculation; we haven't talked to Frankie directly. We've talked to his trainer and manager and he's getting stuff secondhand. He doesn't even have the information, so we want to get the kid down here and see what's going on. What's bothering him; can we help him? Is there anything we can do to help him? He's going down that road; it's an ugly road and we've seen it with some of these other fighters like a Francisco Bojado- and we don't want that to happen to him.
“I mean, Francisco Bojado was a talented fighter, very talented. Everyone was high on him.”
(Yeah, I was driving that bandwagon- guilty as charged.)
“So was I and Frankie's that kind of talent. He's a very tough kid. He's got the amateur pedigree but those outside influences. Those are the things a promoter really can't take care of. We don't really control that. We can do our best, give him advice, this and that, but we can't be with him 24-7.”


Like the rest of the boxing world, I was saddened to hear about the passing of noted trainer Angelo Dundee on Wednesday night at the age of 90. I never had the honor or privilege of meeting Dundee but like everyone else in this sport, I held him in very high regard.

In many ways, he was an iconic figure. Anyone instrumental in the careers of Muhammad Ali and then Sugar Ray Leonard had to be. Just think about the popularity of Freddie Roach right now and multiply that by 10 in regard to Dundee, who was the sport’s most noted cornerman in an era when boxing wasn't just on the sports page- but the front page. And while many trainers would have been successful with the aforementioned duo, it was in those rare moments of distress when Dundee's genius shone through. His ability to jockey and cajole his thoroughbred to the finish line proved he was every bit worth his 10 percent.

There's a belief that trainers can't win fights but they can certainly lose them. Well, on the nights that a wobbled Cassius Clay was struggling against Henry Cooper or blinded by something on Sonny Liston's glove, you could make an argument that “The Greatest” would never have been that without the former Angelo Mirena guiding him through those rough moments. And who can forget those memorable words (that I don't need to repeat. I'm sure by now you've heard it repeated a thousand times the past couple of days) to a rudderless Leonard in the late rounds of his classic bout against Thomas Hearns?

It was Dundee who brought sanity to the table when he asked about the possibility of Leonard and Hearns fighting as prospects. It was he who encouraged everyone to let these fighters develop and let this fight “cook” into something much bigger. And that’s precisely what it was by the time they fought in September of 1981.

In his later years, while Dundee was no longer a presence in corners, he was still an incredible ambassador for boxing. He was gracious with his time and a gifted storyteller, a reminder of the glorious past of this business. Listening to him all these years in interviews and various television shows and documentaries, I felt like I had known him for years.

He was the rare individual who was not just respected and liked but universally beloved. He will be missed.

Here's how Rich Marotta remembers him:

(This week’s edition of “Maxboxing Radio” with Corey Erdman and Yours Truly talks in-depth about Dundee and his impact on the sport:


Chris Arreola's bout on Feb. 18th will be on Showtime Extreme as part of the undercard telecast from Corpus Christi, Texas. It's interesting; you can make an argument that Arreola will be responsible for more tickets sold at the American Bank Center than Tavoris Cloud and Paul Williams combined...Thomas Dulorme and Jonathan Gonzalez co-headline the Feb. 17th edition of “ShoBox” from the Chumash Casino. Uh, yeah, is this the way to build Puerto Rican prospects? This is television packaging at its worst...I dunno about you guys but I really like the ‘Sixers this year...Just wondering, when is “Snooki's” next card?...Lastly, let’s not forget the recent passings of veteran referee Wayne Kelly, trainer/manager Goody Petronelli and middleweight title challenger Don Fullmer, who all made vast contributions to the sport. May they all rest in peace...

I can be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at

More of Steve's recent work below his contact info...
I can be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at
Some more recent articles, news and notes from Steve Kim:
The Texas Three-Step Steve Kim
Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto Steve Kim
Floyd Mayweather vs Miguel Cotto Steve Kim
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao upcoming events will do well Steve Kim
Lamont Peterson and Juan Manuel Marquez to Meet in Jerry’s World? Steve Kim
It Takes Two to Tango Steve Kim
Andre Dirrell is not the only guy on the pre-approved list of foes for Lucian Bute Steve Kim
Richard Schaefer on Seth Mitchell, Antonio DeMarco, Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson and... Steve Kim
Being part of Floyd Mayweather's “Money Team” doesn't get you dental, medical benefits or a pension S.Kim
USS Cunningham Sets Sail: Part One Steve Kim
Waterworld II? Bernard Hopkins vs Chad Dawson II Steve Kim
Official Boxing numbers for Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Rico Ramos (Ouch) Steve Kim
Is this Police Academy? Steve Kim
"Manny Pacquiao has been the PPV king 2 of the past 3 years going head to head with Floyd Mayweather" S.Kim
No opponent for Gary Russell Jr - Dat Nguyen last resort? Steve Kim
No Russia in this Atlas Steve Kim
The First Quarter Steve Kim
New Manny Pacquiao Stadium an issue for negotiating Floyd Mayweather Fight? Steve Kim
Boxing Update: Edwin Rodriguez vs Donovan George, Andy Lee... Steve Kim
Boxing Notes: All indications it's Manny Pacquiao vs Miguel Cotto, Victor Ortiz vs Andre Berto a Tough Sell? Steve Kim
Santa Cruz Begins 2012 in Ensenada Steve Kim
If You Build It…Will They Come? Steve Kim
Richard Schaefer in New York - Abner Mares, Jorge Linares, Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Robert Guerrero & more... S.Kim
A New Main Event on “Fight Night” Steve Kim
Ponce de Leon Turns the Page Steve Kim
Main Events Moves Forward Steve Kim
K9 on a Leash Steve Kim
A Free and Focused Kennedy on FNF Steve Kim
Beltran Goes Rated R Steve Kim
'Solo Boxeo' on the Move? Steve Kim
Ramos Steps up in 2012 Steve Kim
The 2011 K9 Awards: Part Two Steve Kim
Sulaiman Offers Mea Culpa- Sorta (Floyd Mayweather) Steve Kim
On The Move Steve Kim
Jose Sulaiman caused a bit of a firestorm over Floyd Mayweather Steve Kim
It’s Now an “El Terrible” March Steve Kim

For much more on other stars of Boxing, visit our newswire on the homepage now

NEW: Follow Doghouse Boxing on FaceBook!
For more Boxing News 24/7 and so much more... 
visit our homepage now!

© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2012