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Bradley to defend WBO title against Rios on Nov. 7 at T&M

Timothy Bradley is ready to return to the ring for a fight that many boxing fans have wanted to see.

Now, all he needs is a trainer to help him prepare.

Bradley (32-1-1, 12 knockouts) will face Brandon Rios on an HBO card Nov. 7 at the Thomas & Mack Center for Bradley’s World Boxing Organization welterweight title.

Bradley won the interim belt June 27 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Las Vegas’ Jessie Vargas in Carson, Calif. He was elevated to full champion a week later when Floyd Mayweather Jr. chose to vacate the title rather than pay a $200,000 sanctioning fee.

“We think we have a terrific fight,” said Top Rank president Todd duBoef, whose company promotes both fighters. “These guys are perfect for each other. They are action fighters who like to come forward, and it’s probably the best non-pay-per-view fight out there.”

Who will prepare Bradley for the fight with Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) is still to be determined. Bradley fired his longtime trainer, Joel Diaz, on Sunday and has been talking with several potential replacements.

Bradley’s wife and manager, Monica, finalized the deal for the Rios fight, working with duBoef.

“We’ve been working on this for quite a while, and we’re glad to have it done,” duBoef said. “This is fight both Tim and Brandon wanted, and I’m pleased we were able to bring it to Las Vegas.”

Bradley was hoping the split with Diaz, who also trains Las Vegas lightweight title contender Diego Magdaleno, would be amicable. But Diaz said he believes Bradley’s wife was behind the decision, and that irked Bradley, who claimed Diaz left the ring while the officials were sorting out the bizarre ending to the Vargas fight.

Referee Pat Russell stopped the fight with about eight seconds remaining after Vargas had hurt Bradley seconds earlier in the 12th round.

Bradley said he’s moving on, and with a fight to prepare for, he has no choice. Rios can be a tough customer, and when he’s in shape and focused, he is dangerous.

He demolished Mike Alvarado on Jan. 24 in the last of their three fights, as referee Jay Nady stopped the bout at the start of the fourth round.

Bradley-Rios will be the first boxing match in the renovated Thomas & Mack, which is in the midst of a $72 million face-lift.

“We’re excited about being the first boxing event in the new Thomas & Mack,” duBoef said. “We’ve had many great fights in that building over the years, and this will be right up there with the best of them. It’s a great way to help close out what’s been a great year for boxing.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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