Title fight adds $50K winner's bonus

To add a little spice to the lightweight title fight between Brandon Rios and Richard Abril, Top Rank president Todd duBoef announced Friday that the winner will receive a $50,000 bonus on top of his base purse.

Rios and Abril will meet for a vacant 135-pound belt on Saturday night (Top Rank PPV, 9 ET, $44.95) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. They're fighting on a split-site card that will also feature Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) facing Ukraine's Sergey Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) for a vacant interim junior welterweight belt from the Mexico City Arena in Mexico City.

"It's something I like. I like the whole 'prizefight' model and I wanted to integrate it into this fight and both camps liked it," duBoef said.

If Rios (29-0-1, 21 KOs) wins he would add the $50,000 to his purse of $450,000. If Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) wins, it would significantly add to his $100,000 purse.

Rios, a former lightweight titlist who was stripped of his belt for failing to make weight for a December defense against John Murray, is seeking to reclaim his old belt against Abril, who holds an interim title.

Rios was originally supposed to face former unified featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa. However, Gamboa pulled out of the fight on the day of an early March news conference to announce the bout in his hometown of Miami.

The next day, Gamboa was again a no-show at a second news conference to promote the bout in Los Angeles. At that press conference, duBoef and Gamboa co-promoter Ahmet Oner of Arena Box Promotions announced a $100,000 bonus to the winner of Rios-Gamboa, hoping it would entice Gamboa to go through with the fight, for which the fighters were both due to make seven-figure purses.

"Ahmet and I had agreed to a $100,000 bonus for Rios-Gamboa and when that fight didn't pan out, I figured we should stay consistent and so I put up $50,000 for this fight," duBoef said. "The money is on the line for them to cash the extra check if they win."

DuBoef likes the idea of putting the "prize" back into "prizefighting" and has wanted to do this since last October. That is when he paid junior bantamweight titlist Omar Narvaez in excess of $250,000 to come to New York's Madison Square Garden Theater to challenge then-bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire in an HBO main event.

Narvaez spent the entire fight running from Donaire and made more of an effort to simply survive 12 rounds than to win. Donaire wound up winning an unsatisfying shutout decision and few fans left the arena happy about Narvaez's lack of effort.

DuBoef was especially ticked off.

"The performance from Narvaez really left a bad taste in my mouth," he said. "We had this great event set up, we had electricity in the arena and a great crowd looking for a fun fight. Narvaez got a lot of money so he would perform and we felt he didn't perform. That took a lot of wind out of the sails for me that night and for the fans who were there looking for action. I thought we needed to create a prizefight model."

This is the first time Top Rank has implemented it.

"I think we were looking for the right time do it and this was it," duBoef said. "This was a pre-negotiated term in each of their contracts. When we offered $100,000 for the Rios-Gamboa fight we really believed that Gamboa would eventually come around and fight. The fan response to that announcement of the $100,000 was terrific. So when things morphed into Rios-Abril, we decided to do this.

"You want to know if Abril is showing up to fight? He has 50 percent more reason to show up now and try to win. That extra money is a big incentive. And Brandon wanted more money when we were negotiating the fight. Now he can get it by winning, so he has even more incentive to win too."

Rios likes the idea.

"That's why it's called prizefighting," he said. "When I win my title back on Saturday night, you can call my bank account 'Rios Grande.' "

So what if the fight ends in a draw? Would they each receive $25,000?

"I haven't thought about the draw," duBoef said. Then, joking, he added, "So what should we do with the 50?"