Former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios battles former super featherweight and lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto in a junior middleweight battle on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Municipal Auditorium Fausto Gutierrez Moreno in Tijuana, Mexico. The bout will be a special treat for fans of boxing betting and be televised live on the global sports steaming platform DAZN beginning at 9 pm ET.
Rios, 32, enters the contest a huge betting favorite at -1000 with Soto, 38, following at +550.
Rios-Soto Betting Tips
After a brief retirement, Rios (35-4-1, 26 KOs) is on the comeback trail under a new promotional banner. That’s an important bit of information because it means while previous partners, such as Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. and Al Haymon’s PBC, have already cashed in on Rios’ name with him fighting in main events against top-level opposition, new promoter Eddie Hearn has yet to do the same.
So that Rios would find himself in the ring against Soto in just his second fight with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing empire is a good indication the associated matchmakers strongly believe Rios will prevail.
Rios is one of the more popular brawlers in boxing. His style is all volume and power punching and very little defense. Where that might leave lesser fighters in more dire straights, Rios happens to be excellent at it. It’s rare and probably should be appreciated more than it is.
Soto (68-9-2, 37 KOs) is a fine example of how strong and deep the country of Mexico is in fighting talent. He’s never really been one of the best boxers in the sport during any given timeframe but he’s managed to win world titles in two different weight classes.
But Soto has likely aged passed his ability level. He’s not beaten a relevant contender since winning a decision against John Molina Jr. in 2014, and his resume at junior middleweight is almost nonexistent.
Best Bets for Rios-Soto
While we have a few expert boxing tips for this one, there’s not a lot of true value on the board for a fight like this. When each fighter was at his peak, which was years ago, Rios was the bigger and better fighter. That remains the same today.
Add to it that Rios is six years younger than Soto, a much harder puncher and has more promotional money backing him headed into the contest and all signs point to one play.
That’s why Rios is -1000 in the fight, with an implied win probability of almost 91 percent. That might actually be a little generous to Soto in this case. While he’s a crafty fighter overall there’s a reason he hasn’t been put in tough fights against top-flight opponents over recent years. Soto only wins if he gets really lucky and Rios decides to retire again mid-fight.
The over/under is 9.5 rounds. Betting the under at +140 makes a little more sense than betting the over at -190. Rios is a heavy puncher and a 40-year-old version of Soto will likely wilt under the pressure Rios will impose.
Besides, if Soto pulls the upset, he’s likely to get to Rios before the latter part of the fight. It’s not so much that Soto has the kind of power that makes it probable. Rather, when fighters have made more than one comeback over the course of their careers, they think twice about taking punishment more than they did in their early days. Rios is a brawler, so if he starts getting hit clean early and often in the fight, he’s likely to retire on his stool rather than risk any more damage.