Miguel Acosta tried to run, but he couldn’t hide from Brandon Rios, and it cost him his WBA lightweight title.
Rios survived a tough first couple of rounds to score a 10th-round technical knockout over Acosta to remain unbeaten and win his first world championship Saturday night at the Palms.
“My dream has come true,” Rios said, clutching his new prize. “A little guy from Kansas. … Who would have ever believed it?”
A five-punch flurry early in the 10th sent Acosta down and out, as referee Joe Cortez didn’t bother to count, stopping the fight at the 1:14 mark. Acosta (28-4-2) suffered his first loss in seven years, ending a 19-fight win streak.
“I’m very sad and disappointed because I really felt I was going to win this fight,” Acosta said. “Rios is very strong, and I prepared for that. But his power surprised me.”
Rios (27-0-1) dropped Acosta in the sixth and eighth rounds before finishing him off. But it was the first knockdown that did the most damage and changed the complexion of the fight.
“He had hurt me early with a good body shot in the third round, but I sucked it up,” Rios said. “When I knocked him down the first time, I knew he was done.”
Acosta said: “I knew after the first knockdown it was going to be an uphill battle because I wasn’t feeling well. He took everything out of me.”
A big left hook caught Acosta flush on the chin and sent him to the canvas in the sixth. He got up, but was not the same fighter. Rios nearly ended it, but Acosta managed to survive the round.
In the eighth, two left jabs dropped Acosta. By this point, he was on the run, fighting backward and had virtually nothing behind his punches. Rios maintained pressure, not letting the Venezuelan dictate the pace.
“(Trainer) Robert (Garcia) kept telling me to get into this guy, and when I went to the body, I hurt him,” Rios said. “If you let this guy box, he’ll box your ears off.”
Garcia said: “After the second round I told him (Acosta) is dangerous with distance and he needed to tighten it up.”
Rios, nearly a 2-1 betting favorite, said he would like to remain at 135 pounds, defend his title and get a big-money fight. But if that doesn’t happen, he’ll go to 140.
“I’ll fight anyone,” Rios said. “Wherever the best fight is, that’s where I want to be.”
On the undercard, Jesse Magdaleno and Mike Lee scored impressive first-round TKO victories to remain unbeaten. Magdaleno, a featherweight from Las Vegas, stopped Jamie Gutierrez at 2:12 to improve to 3-0. Lee, a former Notre Dame light heavyweight, dropped Pablo Gomez twice in the first 2:17 and raised his record to 4-0.
Las Vegas’ Anthony Lenk climbed to 10-1, stopping Terry Buterbaugh with 18 seconds left in the final round of their six-round super lightweight fight.