Mike “Mile High” Alvarado made good on his promise to mix boxing savvy and gritty brawling to take a hard-earned unanimous decision win (115-113 twice, 114-113) over Brandon Rios to even their rivalry at one win apiece. It was everything we thought it would be with one exception — Alvarado never completely abandoned his game plan to outbox Rios no matter how brutal the exchanges got. That mental focus proved to the difference.
STARTED HOW THEY FINISHED LAST YEAR: Alvarado began off the backfoot, but Brandon Rios was cutting off the ring superbly. Rios held a strong edge inside with his body punching, but Alvarado made his presence known with a series of big overhand rights. Rios, who put on about 20 pounds since the weigh-in, appeared a lot stronger in these early rounds. He wobbled Alvarado badly with a power jab in the second and appeared very close to a stoppage. However, Alvarado began taunting Rios for more and amazingly finished the round on his feet despite eating a right uppercut.
ALVARADO MAKES HIS STAND: Alvarado’s first big moment of the fight came in the third when he staggered Rios with a massive right hand. Rios survived the ensuing onslaught, but Alvarado realized his counter rights were money and utilized the shot to great effect again in the fourth.
THE 7TH ON: Although Alvarado was landing the harder and cleaner head shots through six rounds, Rios was right there in the fight due to his immense pressure and clubbing shots to the body. It wasn’t until the seventh round that you began a notice a clear shift in ring generalship towards Alvarado, who’s movement coupled with hard power shots began to limit Rios’ offense. Alvarado doubled his left hook to the body which visibly bothered his rival, and from this round on the big shots that Rios had landed previously became very sporadic and has much less effect.
Alvarado got on his bike over the last few rounds whenever he needed a break from the bruising exchanges. The reason this didn’t hurt him on the scorecards is whenever Rios got into range, he nailed him with that big right hand. Rios’s earlier inside work virtually disappeared due to Alvarado’s timely clinches. And in nearly every one of those later rounds, Alvarado started off the proceedings with a hard 1-2.
RIOS WANTS HIS OWN REVENGE: Rios took it upon himself to crash Alvarado’s post-fight interview with Max Kellerman to demand a third fight. Although Rios’s demeanor wasn’t respectful in the traditional sense, the conversation had the tone of two drunk frat brothers rather than any real animosity. Alvarado had no problems with a rubbermatch on the condition it happen in his native Denver, which Rios readily agreed to.
LET THE BLOODTHRIST REST: Like everyone who saw this bout tonight, I’ll all for a third fight. But please, for the love of humanity, let these two men rest and heal. This is the second time in five months that they’ve beaten the hell out of each other and no doubt taken years off their careers. These two should not face each other again until November or December at the earliest.
Immediately after this fight I stayed up to watch the replay and will probably check it out again on Sunday. If you missed this fight, make sure you track it down over the next few days.
CRAWFORD BEATS PRESCOTT: Prospect Terence Crawford got the biggest win of his career with a dominant unanimous decision over Breidis Prescott. Crawford outboxed Prescott pretty easily in this bout and even had him in some trouble during the 12th round. Word in the post-fight press conference is that Ray Beltran may be Crawford’s next opponent.