COMMENTARY | It's easy for fans and media to see when a fight makes sense. It's as obvious as watching two world class fighters, relatively close in weight, scale the ranks at the same time, dominating other world class fighters along the way. The hard part is navigating past boxing politics, cautious management, and promotional rivalries to actually make those bouts.
Such is the case with Adrien Broner vs. Brandon Rios-- A bout between polar opposite 20-something ring stars who seem to be reaching their respective primes at exactly the same time.
Ring Magazine's website, RingTV, recently conducted an online poll asking the question of who fans want Adrien Broner to fight next. In first place, getting 28.4% of the votes and beating out fighters such as Danny Garcia, Ricky Burns, Lucas Mattyhsse, and Juan Manuel Marquez, was Brandon Rios. The survey results were hardly a surprise for hardcore fans who follow the action in the 135-140 lb. weight range. Unfortunately, the match-up they want won't be happening any time soon and, frankly, may never happen at all.
The biggest reason for the impossibility of Broner-Rios is that Broner is with Golden Boy and Rios is with Top Rank.
Boxing's two biggest promotional companies are currently involved in a nasty turf war which has seen them engaged in all-out efforts to try and block and/or discredit one another. During this time, both companies have worked to shield their biggest and best talent from fighters of the rival stable and have done a pretty good job of killing some of the sport's biggest fights in the process. Floyd Mayweather (who often works with Golden Boy) vs. Manny Pacquiao and Abner Mares vs. Nonito Donaire are at the top of the list of blocked mega-bouts, thrown on the trash heap of history in the suit vs. suit blood feud.
Top Rank has a clear plan for Brandon Rios as he could very well find himself in line to face the winner of the upcoming fourth Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez encounter. It's also possible he could face the loser, if the winner finds a more lucrative bout in the immediate future. Timothy Bradley and Mike Alvarado, in a rematch of this year's probable Fight of the Year winner, are likely back-ups should Pacquiao and Marquez balk at facing the all-action brawler. Another option is a WBO-mandated bout for the organization's vacant junior welterweight title with Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov.
With all the options available to Rios, he could be a very busy man for, at least, the next couple of years. And it's certainly not in Bob Arum's character to test his Top Rank talent against a slick, world class Golden Boy fighter capable of ruining all of his future plans.
Newly crowned WBC lightweight champ, Adrien Broner, also seems to have his future fairly well mapped out. Immediate plans call for Broner to try and fight a unification with one of his fellow lightweight titlists. Scotland's Ricky Burns would be ideal, but the winner of the upcoming WBA title fight between Richard Abril and Sharif Bogere would be worth considering as well. From there, Broner could enter the deep ranks of the junior welterweight class where Golden Boy has an embarrassment of riches with the likes of Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, and Marcos Maidana roaming the division.
On paper, it certainly looks as though Rios and Broner have plenty of potentially great fights ahead and don't even need one another. But if both young stars continue to perform at the level they've shown, they will likely be the ones left standing at the end of their respective in-house gauntlets. Then, the issue will come up once again.
Best vs. Best is not such a complex concept. And putting two future superstars in the ring with one another is an easy formula for making happy fans and memorable wars. But boxing is also a business and, way too often, it's a business run by people who couldn't care less about the overall health of the sport.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.