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Oxnard's Brandon Rios seeks first world title belt Saturday

February 22, 2011 | 12:39 pm

Brandon Rios is a work in progress.

His promoter hurriedly was trying to make him fights a few years ago, and Rios' trainer was forced to cover and say the kid wasn't quite ready.

Rios was in jail at the time after getting in a fight in Kansas.

Late last year, Rios was preparing to be showcased on the Cowboys Stadium undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito fight when he engaged in an insensitive mocking of Pacquiao's Parkinson's-stricken trainer Freddie Roach, causing a round of bad publicity for the 24-year-old.

Now, Rios is days away from Saturday's World Boxing Assn. lightweight title fight against Miguel Acosta (28-3-2, 22 KOs) at The Palms Casino in Las Vegas. Showtime will televise the fight card beginning at 7 p.m. Pacific, live on Showtime East, tape-delayed until 10 p.m. on Showtime West.

He's vowing the belt arrives as he's finally figured it out.

"Becoming a world champion is something I've wanted since I started boxing," Rios said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "I told my dad at age 10 I'd be a world champion."

Rios sent for his father, Manuel Rios, in Kansas earlier this month, and asked him to spend February together as Brandon trained in Oxnard for the title fight.

"I wanted him here for some motivation, for him to come down and see me get ready and to fight for this world title," Rios said. "My dad works at a Tyson slaughterhouse plant in Kansas. He kills the cows and makes us all healthy and fat. When you eat a steak, think of my dad."

Rios (26-0-1, 18 KOs) has established himself in the ring as something more than a smart-mouth by defeating previously unbeaten Anthony Peterson via disqualification in September, then scoring a fifth-round TKO over Omri Lowther at Cowboys Stadium.

"Dreams do come true, hard work pays off," Rios said.

He credits his six-year trainer Robert Garcia and his wife, Vicky, for the focus that moved him past the threats of his promoter Top Rank to drop his contract.

"They would tell me, 'You have potential and talent, but you're throwing it away,' " Rios said. "My manager told me, 'Hey, dude, you're messing up too much; they don't know if you're going to do something good or something bad. You're a mystery to them.' "

Maybe Rios didn't know himself, but he enjoyed the Dec. 2 birth of his daughter, Mia, and now he has the title shot.

He's been promised the Humberto Soto-Urbano Antillon II winner, or he might hook up with another world lightweight champion, Juan Manuel Marquez.

Rios slipped, saying he believed Marquez, who's in a strained relationship with his promoter, Golden Boy, would be joining Top Rank.

Then he reconsidered the statement, asking the reporter to please phrase it that a Marquez-to-Top-Rank development was only "something I heard or read."

For Brandon Rios, that's progress.

-- Lance Pugmire