The manager of Denver’s “Mile High” Mike Alvarado believes that his fighter will be the bigger man and the superior boxer when he meets former WBA lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios in what will be Rios’ HBO-televised junior welterweight debut on Oct. 13 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
“Brandon’s a lot smaller than Mike, and so Mike can impose his will. I think that we have all of the advantages where I feel that Brandon is one-dimensional. We feel that Mike can box from the outside and he can also fight on the inside,” said Alvarado’s co-manager, Henry Delgado.
“We feel that our conditioning is superior. Any way that you look at it, Brandon has one choice, and that’s to try to get inside on our guy and to work on the inside. If he wants to do that, and Mike feels like doing that, then we’ll oblige him.”
Alvarado (33-0, 23 knockouts) and Rios (30-0-1, 22 KOs) have reached a verbal agreement for a bout that shapes up as an all-action brawl and a possible show-stealer on a broadcast whose main event is to feature WBO junior featherweight titleholder Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) against Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs).
Nishioka stretched his winning streak to 16 straight fights with his last triumph by unanimous decision over two-division titleholder Rafael Marquez in October.
Rios is coming off a controversial split-decision over Richard Abril in April that followed his 11th-round knockout of John Murray in December. On the Rios-Abril undercard, Alvarado earned a hard-fought, 10-round unanimous over Mauricio Herrera (18-2, 7 KOs).
Alvarado’s coming-out party was his dramatic, come-from-behind, 10th-round stoppage of Breidis Prescott, this, after a fourth-round, right-handed uppercut had ripped open Alvarado’s left eye and caused a profuse flow of blood that hindered his vision for the remainder of the fight.
“I had never really suffered from any cuts like that or anything like that in my previous fight,” said Alvarado, during the post-fight press conference. “But I just knew that I had to overcome it. My heart just grew bigger and bigger as the fight went on. That’s why I took over.”
Six rounds after receiving the cut, Alvarado floored Prescott with a vicious left-right-left uppercut series. It was the beginning of the end for Prescott, forcing referee Jay Nady to wave an end to the fight. Trailing 87-84 on two cards and 86-85 on the third, Alvarado had closed by landing 27 of 38 power shots thrown in the 10th to come up with his 10th stoppage over his previous 12 bouts.
“That was incredible. That was like a movie,” said Arum, at the time. “You couldn’t script anything better. I mean, blood pouring down Mike Alvarado’s face, and he’s behind on the scorecards. The only chance that he has to win the fight is to drop this guy or to knock him out.”
“And then, out of nowhere, he came on and he knocked the guy out. It was a Hollywood ending. That’s like the Rocky movies, you know, with the blood streaming down. That doesn’t really happen in real life.”
It was the biggest win so far in the career of Alvarado, who both dropped and stopped Prescott for the first time in the Colombian’s career. Prescott is best known for a 54-second knockout over former IBF and WBA junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan in September of 2008.
Alvarado’s was a performance in which “Mike clearly put himself in the ‘must see’ category for boxing on television,” said Top Rank Vice President, Carl Moretti, at the time.
Top Rank Inc. President Todd duBoef agreed during the post-fight press conference, saying, “Performances like Mike’s create great opportunities for a fighter in the future.”
“That’s a stepping stone or a signature fight, where he can really make a name for himself. You see some of those fights where either they step up and deliver or they don’t, and Mike, obviously, delivered.”
Alvarado will try to go one better against Rios.
Although Delgado says that the fight has been “agreed to in principle,” it is “not done yet,” he said. “Once that’s cleared up, then the fight is on.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com