By Karl Freitag
Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
A very brutal and exciting welterweight clash between former world champions Brandon Rios (32-2-1, 23 KOs) and Diego Chaves (23-2, 19 KOs) was cut short when when referee Vic Drakulich disqualified Chaves in round nine on Saturday night in front of 2,000 inside the sold out new “Chelsea” venue at the luxurious Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. As advertised, both fighters went right at each other. By round three, Rios seemed to have the upper hand pressuring Chaves backward but the rounds were close and hard fought. Referee Drakulich played a major role by deducting a point from Chaves for holding at the end of round three, taking a point from Rios for wrestling Chaves to the ground in round five, taking another point from Chaves for putting his glove in Rios’ face during a break in round eight, and ultimately disqualifying Chaves in round nine, apparently for holding. Time was 1:26.
At the time of the stoppage, the entertaining slugfest was still in the balance. Chaves was ahead 75-74 on two cards, Rios was ahead 75-74 on the third card.
“This is not the way I wanted to win,” said Rios afterward. “I’m not happy with the way it went.”
“I think it was unjustified the way I was disqualified,” stated Chaves. “This is a disgrace what they did to me.”