Retired former contender “Irish” Micky Ward called former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios‘s seventh-round stoppage of junior welterweight rival Mike Alvarado “a great, great, exciting fight,” adding “I loved watching it.”
“I thought that it was a great, great exciting fight. It went back and forth. Rios would land some, Alvarado would land some. It was a great fight and I loved watching it,” said Ward, who had told RingTV.com that Rios-Alvarado could invoke memories of his classic trilogy with Arturo Gatti.
“I think that maybe at the time that the fight was stopped, that it was either even or that Alvarado might have had a little of an edge, but not much, you know? I think that he had an edge, and that maybe he was up a round or so, but it was close.”
Judges Max De Luca and Zac Young had it even, while James Jen-Kin had Rios ahead at the time of the stoppage, when referee Pat Russell stepped in at 1:57 of the seventh to prevent Alvarado from taking further punishment along the ropes.
“I thought Alvarado was using his jab and mixing it up early. He has a long jab and a good jab. But he just got caught. I mean, he could have used his jab to move, and to move, and to move,” said Ward, who turned 47 on Oct. 4.
“But that’s just not the way that he fights. He can box and punch, and I think that he could have moved a little bit more. But I think he just used his jab well when he had to use it, and then, he just stopped using it. He kind of just stood there a little flat-footed and he got caught.”
Ward also said that he did not believe that Russell stopped the fight prematurely.
“I think that it was stopped at the right time. Alvarado was out on his feet. I mean, he can say that all that he wants if he looks at it again. His hands were up, but his hands were up but they weren’t up like he was trying to protect himself. He knew that they were up, but they were kind of just hanging around,” said Ward.
“They weren’t up really in front of his face. They were up, but they weren’t up high to stop punches. They were just up because he was dazed. I don’t know. The referee can jump in honestly. You’d rather be a punch too early than a punch too late, so I think that the referee did a good job of stopping it.”
Ward is most known for his trilogy with Gatti, whom he defeated and then twice lost to before retiring. Of the three Gatti-Ward bouts, the first and third earned THE RING magazine’s “Fight Of The Year” honors.
The late Gatti earned IBF junior lightweight and WBC junior welterweight titles and is a nominee for the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013.
Nicknamed, “Bam Bam,” Rios had promised that his bout with Alvarado would be “a very violent, very bloody fight,” one he believed would conjure the Gatti-Ward trilogy as well as the Diego Corrales-Jose Luis Castillo 2005 Fight of The Year. Nicknamed “Mile High,” Alvarado had vowed to become the first man to score a knockout against Rios, ironically, saying that he would do so within seven rounds.
Ward and his older half-brother and former trainer Dicky Eklund were portrayed by actors Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, respectively, in The Fighter, a movie released in 2010 about Ward’s life.
Bale received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter, and Melissa Leo, an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the role of Ward’s late mother, Alice Ward.
During the summer of 2009, Ward, Eklund and Bale spent time at Wahlberg’s home in Beverly Hills working out as boxers in Wahlberg’s private boxing gym replete with a full ring and boxer’s training equipment and trading punches as part of their preparation for the film.
Although the Gatti-Ward trilogy was not depicted in The Fighter, Ward said that he is in favor of a Fighter sequel that would address his match ups and his relationship with Gatti.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org