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Brandon Rios has ferocity, charisma,

and, if he's careful, a chance

 to become boxing's next megastar

Wow, Brandon, speaking for boxing fans everywhere, you've won our hearts. You remind us of fighters you're probably too young to know about -- LaMotta, Graziano, Basilio: old-school guys who knew what we wanted and gave it to us every time.

And you're on the verge of getting everything you've always wanted -- money, recognition, and a chance to test yourself against the best fighters on earth.

So, let us humbly ask a few favors.

First, take good care of  your name. Always remember that it's the only one you'll ever have. You're about to discover that fame can be fun, and it can also be a headache. The same fans and media who sing your praises and laugh at  your jokes now will pounce if you stumble. They'll follow you everywhere and watch everything you do. So, do the right thing.

You poked fun at Freddie Roach's tragic affliction a while back, making a joke that was playful but ill-advised. Whether you realize it or not, you paid a steep price for that misstep, which lingers as a demerit against your good name. Learn from it.

Boxing fans accept smack talk as a beloved part of the sport, but proceed with class and caution when you're smacking your rivals. These same guys will be part of your unique fraternity as long as you live. Hopefully, they'll all want to sit at your table when you're old and grey, sharing war stories at the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

You've risen from the mean streets, and boxing fans revere that accomplishment. Embrace your hardscrabble past, but stay above it. Keep your language clean (kids are watching) and your actions spotless.

Beware of predators, and be aware that they are all around you. Some wear gold and diamonds and sell cocaine. Others are in sequined halter tops and intoxicating perfume. Put your street sense to good use, recognize that they want your money and your life, and realize that boxing's boneyard is filled with meteorites like yourself who fell prey to temptation. Tyson, De La Hoya and Sugar Ray Leonard are a few who lived to tell us about the mistakes they made. Others weren't as lucky.

Work your butt off . Understand that your time in the spotlight will go by in the blink of an eye. Don't take it for granted.

You're good, Brandon -- scary good. Seize the day and stay that way.

 (Posted July 12, 2011)

Previous columns by Dennis Taylor
CLICK HERE: You with the cellphone ... wave bye bye!
CLICK HERE: Pacquiao & Mayweather must fight or pay a historic price

CLICK HERE: A shadowboxer grabs the spotlight
CLICK HERE: Our 'Enry: Cooper takes the final count

CLICK HERE: The meltdown of Floyd Mayweather
CLICK HERE: Logic screams that Mosley is just a pawn
CLICK HERE: To join the all-time greatest, Floyd needs a worthy challenge
CLICK HERE: Big Brother is waiting for Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero
CLICK HERE: Superstar! Andre Ward emerges as the new American Idol

CLICK HERE to contact Dennis Taylor




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