Five months ago, Oxnard, California’s own Brandon Rios, 26, (31-1-1, 23 KOs), and Colorado native Mike Alvarado, 32, (34-1, 23 KOs), fought to nearly seven grueling, back and forth terrific stanzas. In that final seventh round, Rios end the brawl by staggering Alvarado with a right hand, and then finishing Alvarado off on the ropes to score a TKO victory. Following the fight, Alvarado vowed to get revenge, and believed the bout was stopped prematurely. Rios, on the other hand, said Alvarado was not able to buckle him not once. Rios believed he would hand Alvarado his second defeat. The stage was set this past Saturday night in Las Vegas to see which pugilist was correct, and if the two warriors could stage a worthy sequel to their fantastic first encounter.
Historically in boxing, the victor of the first fight typically wins the second in easier fashion. And in the opening two rounds, it appeared as though the same would ring true for Brandon Rios. After a strong first for Rios, he then dominated the second round (though not to the degree that led one ringside judge to score the round 10-8 for Rios) in even more impressive fashion. Repeatedly hurting Alvarado within the round.
Alvarado however, weathered the storm. He returned out of his corner for the third round, and got himself right into the fight. In the midst of a exchange, Alvarado badly hurt Rios with a right hand to the shock of the boxing savy crowd on hand. As Rios has seldom been hurt in his career and has shown a granite chin thus far. Rios, being the warrior he is did not succumb to canvas in the third, or any round. And neither did Alvarado. As a matter of fact, neither man has tasted the canvas in the brutal eighteen rounds fought thus far. Another testament to the fortitude each fighter possesses.
After a back and forth fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds, Alvarado would then seize control as the seventh began. Alvarado possesed a slight edge on the scoring going into the round, and then after the seventh was over, the momentum was definitively Alvarado’s. Alvarado would then sweep rounds eight through ten, leaving Rios in desperate need of a big finish.
Rios would go on to win the eleventh, with Alvarado perhaps husbanding his strength for a final round push. And a final round push indeed did Alvarado summon, clearly outpunching, and out landing Rios throughout the stanza. Closing the show in good fashion, seemingly sowing up a victory before hearing the judges’ final verdict. And the judges ringside rewarded the correct winner, Mike Alvarado, giving the tough junior welterweight contender the biggest victory of his career in the most beautifully fought fight he’s executed thus far.
And now, to state the obvious: the fans need a rubber match between these two. They were sent from the boxing gods to have a triliogy with one another, in what could very well turn into the best junior welterweight trilogy since the now legendary Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward encounters. Both men are without a doubt now, sought after commodites. Commodities with options at perhaps two of boxing’s best divisions: junior welterweight, and welterweight. However, it’s beyond reasonable to assume boxing fans would far and away prefer Rios and Alvarado spoiling us all with another terrific fight.
Mike Alvarado was certainly the better man last Saturday night. Brandon Rios also gave a great showing of heart, durability, and inside fighting ability. But Mike Alvarado answered the call to make adjustments so he would emerge the victor. In a presumed third fight, it will now be up to Brandon Rios to come back with a better game plan, and implement adjustments. Otherwise, he may suffer the same fate. Alvarado as well will have to prepare for Rios to fight a better fight should Rios come into the ring with a superior game plan. Hats off to both warriors, let us all keep our fingers crossed that we don’t have to wait too long for the rubber match.