Brandon Rios defense set for December

Lightweight titlist Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios will make his second defense on the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II HBO PPV undercard on Dec. 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York, Top Rank president Todd duBoef told ESPN.com on Sunday.

Rios' opponent has not been determined yet, but his presence on the card adds one of boxing's most exciting young stars to one of the year's biggest shows.

"We're happy to get Brandon back in the ring. He has a telegenic personality, but it's not just about being able to put Brandon on a major pay-per-view card that is so good. It's about being able to put him on in Madison Square Garden and in front of a big New York crowd," duBoef said. "They will eat up his personality and his fighting style."

Rios, 25, of Oxnard, Calif., has never fought on the East Coast and duBoef said he has been lobbying for a spot on the card, which he continued last week when he attended a press conference Top Rank put on for Cotto-Margarito II in Los Angeles as part of a four-city media tour.

"He was begging us at the press conference, telling us how much he wanted to be on the show," duBoef said. "Well, he got what he wanted."

Rios was originally ticketed for a December date on Showtime, which has televised his last two bouts. However, Top Rank's relationship with the network has turned sour since it brought Manny Pacquiao back to rival HBO for his Nov. 12 pay-per-view fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Showtime declined the option it had on Rios' next fight.

Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs) won his version of the 135-pound title in February in a come-from-behind 10th-round knockout of Miguel Acosta in one of the year's most dramatic fights. On July 9, Rios made his first defense, knocking out Urbano Antillon in the third round.

Rios and Margarito are both trained by Robert Garcia, so Rios is excited to be on the same card.

"It's great. We're going to have the whole team together with Margarito. It's pretty cool," Rios said.

Rios said he was also looking forward to having his first fight at famed Madison Square Garden.

"It's an honor to fight at that venue," Rios said. "I've been told there's something special about fighting at Madison Square Garden and I'm training hard to give fans a great fight."

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.