Both former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios and junior welterweight contender Mike Alvarado have promised victory in Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash of unbeatens at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
One thing that appears certain is that the winner will have to bleed to succeed.
“Cuts will be a major hindrance in a toe-to-toe slug-fest, and Alvarado’s scar tissue will surely break open if a war breaks out,” said Lee Groves of RingTV.com “It takes time for them to accumulate the punishment needed to cut short fights, so we will likely be treated to a battle that will go rounds.”
Rios (30-0-1, 22 knockouts) has promised that his bout with Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs) will be “a very violent, very bloody fight,” one he believes will invoke memories of the Arturo “Thunder” Gatti-“Irish” Micky Ward trilogy as well as the Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo 2005 Fight of The Year. Of the three Gatti-Ward bouts, the first and third earned RING Magazine’s “Fight Of The Year” honors.
Meanwhile, Alvarado has vowed to become the first man to score a knockout against Rios, whom he meets on the undercard of a main event matching Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) against Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs), THE RING’s No. 3 and No. 1 junior featherweights, respectively, in what will be a battle for the magazine’s vacant 122-pound championship as well as Donaire’s IBF and WBO belts.
“It has all of the makings to be a great fight. The way that they fight, they’re both disciplined guys,” said Ward (38-13-1, 27 KOs), who defeated Gatti and then twice lost to before retiring.
“They fight hard. They don’t take backward steps. So it has the makings of being a fight like the ones between me and Arturo Gatti. But, you know, who knows? But like I said, it certainly has the makings.”
Alvarado and Rios are known for their fierce, blood-and-guts approach to boxing, with Rios having won his past two bouts by 11th-round knockout of British contender Johnny Murray in December and controversial split-decision over Richard Abril in April.
On the Rios-Abril undercard, Alvarado overcame rugged Mauricio Herrera for a 10-round unanimous decision after having survived for a come-from-behind, 10th-round stoppage of Breidis Prescott on the November undercard the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“Rios is a tough guy, and Alvarado, he’s tough too. You know, I might give Alvarado a little bit of an edge, but I don’t know,” said Ward.
“It’s safe to say that it’s going to be a great fight and that I’ll be watching. People should tune in to watch it, because it’s going to be a classic.”
As RingTV.com’s panel of experts takes a stab at picking Saturday night’s winner, if there is one thing that seems guaranteed, it’s the notion that there will be blood.
Mike Alvarado late-round KO Brandon Rios: Brandon Rios will be climbing in weight and won’t enjoy the same size advantages he’s accustomed to.
Mike Alvarado loves to brawl and won’t be discouraged by Rios’ constant pressure. I expect Alvarado to outlast Rios in a battle of wills in an epic.
Mike Alvarado W 10 Brandon Rios: If this fight were scheduled for 12 rounds, I’d go with one of these punishers by final-rounds KO or TKO. But I think both are tough and experienced enough to survive 10 rounds.
This is just a hunch, but I think Alvarado’s maturity and willingness to box in spots during what will no doubt be a hardcore slugfest for most of the fight will enable the 32-year-old contender to earn a very close — and very bloody — decision. I can see it being a split or majority nod to the Colorado native.
Brandon Rios UD 10 Mike Alvarado: Energy is an edge that Rios may have sacrificed in the futile battle to make 135 pounds. At 140, Rios might have restored a depleted resource critical in his ability to sustain an attack so overwhelming a couple of years ago.
The guess here is he will, although the tough and stubborn Mike Alvarado figures to be there until the closing bell. Rios’ cockiness might get him in trouble, especially in wild exchanges that are the only sure pick in a bout between fighters similar in style and almost identical for their aggressiveness.
Alvarado could catch him with a combination. But he’ll have to do it early, and he’s not known for quick starts, unlike a re-invigorated Rios, who – from start to finish — promises to be back at a pace exhausting to anybody who tries to stay with him.
Brandon Rios KO 10 Mike Alvarado: This will end on cuts. If Brandon Rios feels good, he’ll fight good and his “good” is better than Mike Alvarado’s “good.”
Cuts will be a major hindrance in a toe-to-toe slug-fest, and Alvarado’s scar tissue will surely break open if a war breaks out.
Neither is a dynamite one-punch knockout guy.It takes time for them to accumulate the punishment needed to cut short fights, so we will likely be treated to a battle that will go rounds.
It will be fun to watch for as long as it lasts but the feeling here is that the ringside physician will determine the final result.
Mike Alvarado KO Brandon Rios: Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado is a an even fight. Alvarado, in my opinion, is a slightly better boxer than Rios.
Since Rios is coming up from lightweight for the first time, we just don’t know how he’ll be able to take at punch at junior Welterweight. I’m leaning on Alvarado to win this fight by KO in the late rounds.
Brandon Rios TKO 10 Mike Alvarado. Here’s a true pick’em matchup between two warriors who make good fights.
I like Brandon Rios to shake off his last two lackluster performances now that he has a sturdy guy in Mike Alvarado, who can box if he wants to.
But it is likely that Alvarado will stand in front-and-center trade power shots. Of course, whether Rios will beat the scale is another story, but all things being equal in that regard, I like “Bam Bam” in another fan-friendly brawl.
Mike Alvarado UD 10 Brandon Rios: Hide the women and children. If there ever was a flat out “Fight of the Year” on paper going in, this is it. I expect a bloodbath, pure and simple.
It’s going to be a war, big punches from both guys, plenty of bruising, and guts galore. I am slightly favoring Mike Alvarado over Brandon Rios because I think Mike has the strongest “will to win” of any fighter in the game today.
No matter the predicament, he somehow gets it done. I think he’ll walk through hell Saturday night to get it done again.
Brandon Rios TKO 10 Mike Alvarado: Tough one, but the feeling here is that Brandon Rios is up for this one, and if he feels comfortable at the weight, then I see him physically punishing Mike Alvarado and stopping him in late rounds. Rios by 10th-round technical knockout.
Mike Alvarado TKO 10 Brandon Rios: Mike Alvarado wins by 10th-round TKO over Brandon Rios. On paper another cracker, fingers crossed that both men deliver as anticipated.
It’s such a tough one to call, but for some reason I have a hunch for 32-year-old Alvarado. His time among the big boys is now.
Brandon Rios KO Mike Alvarado: I have to go with Brandon Rios. He’s younger and a little quicker in this face first brawl with Mike Alvarado.
Brandon Rios UD 10 Mike Alvarado: Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado is a fan’s dream — two fearless sluggers who enter their showdown undefeated.
Alvarado might be the better boxer of the two, but Rios is more experienced against top-tier opposition and is unusually strong and resilient.
Rios typically outlasts his opponents to win the second half of the fight. That will happen again in this fight. Rios by unanimous decision.
Brandon Rios KO 8 Mike Alvarado: This has Fight-of-The-Year potential, and is a great fan-friendly fight. Brandon Rios will get tested, but I believe he has the kind of armor to prevail against Mike Alvarado and turn some testy times into a stoppage.
Brandon Rios W 10 Mike Alvarado: I have Brandon Rios winning by a very hard fought 12-round decision over Mike Alvarado.
Mike Alvarado KO 10 Brandon Rios: Mike Alvarado has been waiting a long time for this opportunity and I think he will cash in this shot. When two fighters fight this type of style, I always favor the harder worker.
Brandon Rios KO 10 Mike Alvarado: I see Mike Alvarado boxing more than most people expect, and that might frustrate Brandon Rios, who wants to slug it out from the opening bell.
If it goes toe-to-toe, which ultimately is what I believe it will morph into, I have Rios winning by 10th-round stoppage.
Going with my heart in this one, I feel that Rios will surprise people the way he did vs. Miguel Acosta and Anthony Peterson. Rios by Unanimous Decision in a bruising battle.
By the slim margin of 10-6, the experts have Brandon Rios rising in weight to defeat Mike Alvarado in a potential blood bath.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org