Mike Alvarado earned a 10-round unanimous decision over capable former prospect Gabriel Martinez in his hometown of Denver on Saturday that was more competitive than the lopsided official scores suggest but still indicative of his promise in the 140-pound division.
The undefeated junior welterweight standout beat Martinez by scores of 100-89, 100-90 and 99-90. Alvarez (31-0, 22 knockouts) was credited for a flash knockdown in the first round that was produced by an unintentional right cross to the back of the 24-year-old Mexico native's head.
Martinez (27-3-1, 14 KOs) got up and gamely battled the constantly-advancing powerful boxer-puncher, but it was clear by the middle rounds of the Fox Sports Net-televised bout that the combination of Alvarez's pressure, brute strength and underrated technique was too much for the crafty boxer, who moved and scored well in spots.
The victory was the third of 2011 for Alvarez, whose career has twice been stalled by 6-month jail stints (in 2009 and 2010). If the 31-year-old veteran, who claims to have turned over a new leaf, can stay out of trouble and continue his current momentum, he can be a major player in the deep 140-pound division.
His considerable physical strength, aggressive style and solid technique would match up well with titleholders Amir Khan and Tim Bradley, as well as RING-rated contenders Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson or the winner of the up-coming Robert Guerrero-Marcos Maidana fight.
In the Top Rank Live! co-feature, junior featherweight prospect Roberto Marroquin rebounded from the first loss of his professional career with an eight-round unanimous decision over well-traveled veteran Jose Beranza.
Marroquin (20-1, 14 KOs), who lost a 10-round split decision to Francisco Leal in April, scored knockdowns in rounds three and six on his way to earning scores of 79-70 and 78-71 (twice). However, as was the case in the main event, the score cards were not indicative of the competitive nature of the bout. The 21-year-old Dallas native finished the fight with his right eye nearly swollen shut.
Beranza (33-21-2, 26 KOs), a 35-year-old Mexican journeyman who has fought everyone, finished strong.
Photos by Chris Farina-Top Rank