April 13, 2012
Fighting for a world championship belt should be motivation enough for lightweights Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios and Richard Abril. They meet at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday for the World Boxing Association title in the co-main event of a pay-per-view card.
But Top Rank president Todd duBoef added a bit of spice to the bout by promising a $50,000 bonus for the winner on top of his regular purse.
"I said it before that we want to bring the prize aspect back into it to make it true prize fighting," duBoef said. "This will be a little incentive, an extra $50,000 to the winner. Hopefully, that makes them fight a little harder to try to win that money."
The plan was hatched in October after Nonito Donaire won a clear but very boring decision over a safety-first Omar Narvaez in New York. Narvaez fought to survive, not win, and engaged very little, much to the consternation of duBoef, Donaire, the HBO announce team and the live audience at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
After that fight, duBoef revealed exclusively to Yahoo! Sports that he planned to offer a $100,000 bonus for Donaire's next bout.
He was planning to do another $100,000 bonus when Saturday's bout was originally going to pit Rios against Yuriorkis Gamboa. But after Gamboa pulled out of the bout, and was sued by Top Rank, duBoef decided to make the bonus $50,000 for the Rios-Abril match.
In a statement released by -- and likely written by -- Top Rank publicist Fred Sternburg, Rios applauded the move and predicted victory.
That's why it's called prize fighting. When I win my title back on Saturday night you can call my bank account Rios Grande!
UFC president Dana White began the practice a number of years ago, awarding bonuses for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night on every card. It's been a big hit with fans, media and, most importantly, to the fighters, who clearly compete with the bonus on their minds.
If the $50,000 helps to make Rios and Abril compete that harder, I'm all for it.