By Hamilton Nolan
Brandon Rios takes on Diego Chaves as part of a Boxing After Dark triple-header this Saturday at 9:45 PM. Before Rios’ last fight – a unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao – HBO Boxing Insider Hamilton Nolan considered the question, “What Does Brandon Rios Fight Like?”
Brandon Rios fights like the bronze head of an old battering ram that swings only forwards and backwards in a straight line but that's good enough.
Brandon Rios fights like a flatfooted platypus waddling up on shore awkwardly, and the platypus is wearing boxing gloves for some reason.
Three hunched figures are shuffling along a street in a retirement community. "Why, I remember the Great War," says one. "I remember the Great Depression," says another. "What?" says the third. That's Brandon Rios. He's always hunched and shuffling. Sure can punch though.
Brandon Rios fights like a bobblehead doll whose bobblehead will not break off no matter how many times you slam it on the side of a desk.
"Look back, and smile on perils past," said Walter Scott. "Look, I'll smile while I'm getting punched in the face. Fuck it," said Brandon Rios.
Brandon Rios's uppercuts slice like a thresher, tossing the wheat into the air, greedily consuming all in its path. "Wheat" in this case is "a human's face."
Pernell Whitaker is to Brandon Rios as a darting gazelle is to an oak tree that drops dangerously heavy acorns.
Brandon Rios fights like no one ever taught him to fight and furthermore he could not care less that no one ever taught him to fight because he just got done knocking out all the guys who were taught how to fight.
Brandon Rios stands like he's trying to grasp a softball between his elbows, and walks like he's inching forwards along a balance beam. When he covers up he looks instantly helpless. But when he punches, his shoulder rolls forward a little more than the average man's, because he cares a little more about knocking you out than the average man.
Brandon Rios is an example of what would happen if all you cared about in life was punching people in the head and goddamn the consequences, whatever they may be.
Jay, Silent Bob, and Brandon Rios were loitering outside of a 7-11. None of them looked out of place. Jay, Silent Bob, and Brandon Rios were in a boxing match. Only Brandon Rios lived.
Brandon Rios fights like someone whose successful career is hazardous to his long-term health.
Brandon Rios fights like a kid who actually likes to fight, who craves violence, who has used his fists as a bargaining chip, who has forsaken all self-reflection in favor of constant action and an instant temper and who long ago found a settled resolve to accept any and all punishment that comes with this lifestyle in exchange for the morbid but certain peace of mind that it offers. There is probably a deep psychological reason for this, but Brandon Rios is not a psychologist.