LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Timothy Bradley heads into a 12-round welterweight fight with Brandon Rios on Saturday, looking to jump-start his career and show there are no lingering effects from a less than inspiring win in his last outing.
Bradley was badly hurt in the 12th round of his last fight with Jessie Vargas in June after Vargas nailed him with a big right hand and the fight was nearly stopped.
Bradley (33-1-1, 12 KOs) won a controversial decision leaving some to wonder how he will hold up in the later rounds against a hard puncher like Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs).
World Boxing Organisation welterweight champ Bradley and former World Boxing Association lightweight champ Rios face each other at the Thomas & Mack Center arena in Las Vegas.
Bradley has a new trainer in Teddy Atlas after cutting ties with longtime trainer Joel Diaz. Atlas, who once helped train a teenage Mike Tyson, is trying to get Bradley to fight smarter which means throwing less punches and moving more efficiently around the ring.
Like Bradley, fellow American Rios has had some spotty results of late, losing two of his last four bouts. The 29-year-old is making his first appearance in 10 months and has not held a world title in four years.
"The way to beat Tim Bradley is to put on pressure in the fight and try to knock him out," Rios' trainer Robert Garcia said.
"We plan to cut off the ring and turn this into a real fight. We are not concerned with his change in a chief trainer because Bradley always comes in top condition and is ready to fight."
They both have a common opponent in Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao and Bradley battled twice. Pacquiao easily won the rematch last year, and most believe he won their first fight in 2012 as well but the judges thought otherwise.