Rios vs. Alvarado Predictions
There’s a lot on the line for both fighters. Both are undefeated. Both are kamikaze pilots in gloves and satin shorts…
Saturday night on HBO Boxing After Dark, the co-main event preceding Donaire-Nishioka features Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado in a bout that is being touted as a Fight of the Year candidate. Superlatives before the opening bell are always an iffy proposition. But in this case maybe not. There’s a lot on the line for both fighters. Both are undefeated. Both are kamikaze pilots in gloves and satin shorts. Don’t tune in expecting a demonstration of the “gentlemanly art of self defense.” Tune in to watch the less-than-gentlemanly art of mutually assured destruction. This is how the Boxing.com writers see Rios vs. Alvarado unfolding.
Adam Berlin: “Mike Alvarado is a solid fighter. Skilled, persistent, and relatively heavy-handed, there’s a reason this 140-pounder from Colorado is undefeated. But Brandon Rios, despite his last performance, and despite his seeming inability to make weight, has shown flashes of superlative. The X factor that makes certain fighters special can take many forms—super speed, super defense, super power. Bam Bam’s brand of X has to do with his brand of killer instinct; contrary to the popular belief that prize fighters should remove emotion from violence, Brandon Rios relishes violence, from his curse-laden interviews to his relentless attacks in the ring. This kid displays a Tapia-like joy in hurting the men he faces, creating mayhem, laughing at mayhem, and ultimately controlling mayhem. Alvarado may be the bigger man, but Rios will bark louder before the bell and bite harder when Round 1 begins. Rios knows he needs to look spectacular after his last two outings and he’ll be ready. When the smoke clears, Brandon Rios will have his hand raised, his points victory carved out of relentless, joyful violence.”
Cheekay Brandon: “This has fight of the year written all over it. Two guys with talent and a willingness to walk through fire. Boxing experts have been very kind to Brandon Rios, who was handed a mostly bogus decision in his last fight. We all made the weight excuse for him, and for good reason—he was obviously stretching himself too thin at the 135 lb. weight limit. Alvarado appears naturally less gifted but will be larger and longer, which will give Rios problems in this fight, especially early. I see an even fight through 8 rounds with Alvarado’s comfort level at 140 taking control, giving him extra boost in the championship rounds. I see another controversial decision, with Rios winning on the cards but losing by two rounds between ropes.”
Teron Briggs: I like Rios to win a close and disputed decision. Alvarado is the naturally stronger and bigger guy, but Rios is better technically. I think his punches will be more accurate and his defense—yeah he actually does have some defense—will allow him to take less punishment. Rios has shown in the past that he’s been able to dig deep in the latter rounds of his fights, and I expect him to do that in this bout, especially since he isn’t punishing his body by forcing himself to make 135 lbs.”
Mike Casey: “Let us make the most of these guys. The way they fight, they might not be around for too much longer. Both boys battle their hearts out and have plenty of courage and commitment, but they take a lot of punches in return. Fair enough. Blood, guts and excitement are where it’s at for Alvarado and Rios and this should certainly be a thrilling collision. Mike has the edge in experience over Brandon but has taken more punishment. Mike does strike me as the more solid and robust of the two. But let’s not get too analytical about this one. Roll a couple of dice and you’re just as likely to pick the winner as you are by watching a bunch of videos or consulting astrology charts. My pick is Alvarado after about four or five brutal rounds.”
Ben Hoskin: “Looks like a phone booth fight on paper. Rios got a fortuitous decision last time out but making weight was probably an indicator of his travails. Rios has the better pedigree as far as amateur and professional experience is concerned. Alvarado is the bigger man with a longer reach which gives him an advantage there. I see it being a war of attrition with Rios getting a decision or a late stoppage on cuts. Whilst it lasts it should be a real treat for the fans as both are pressure fighters, it comes down to who gets off quicker and Rios’ faster hand speed should prevail. It can’t come soon enough! Great matchmaking by the promoters.”
Norman Marcus: “I haven’t seen Alvarado too many times but I think Rios has faced the better opposition. Provided Rios makes weight without any issues, I like him by a late KO.”
Robert Mladinich: “What a great fight! This is the type of fight we should be seeing regularly on ‘free’ cable stations like HBO and Showtime. I commend the fighters and the promoters for making this terrific matchup. It’s very hard to pick a winner here. Both guys are very powerful and all-action all the time. Even though Rios had trouble making 135 pounds and will be a lot stronger at 140, I think Alvarado is a bigger 140-pounder than Rios, plus he’s used to fighting and winning at that weight. Because of Rios’s name recognition, it would be easy to pick him, but my gut tells me that Alvarado is going to do what Danny Garcia did to Amir Khan and emerge from this slugfest with his hand raised in victory. Alvarado TKO 7.
Ezra Salkin: “Rios has benefited from being bigger and stronger than all of his foes to date, most of whom he’s steamrolled. At the same time, in his tougher outings, his issues with being weight drained as a result of stuffing his body down a weight class are well documented. So will his move to 140 pounds make him stronger or weaker? To me there are fewer questions about Alvarado, who’s a beast. For the first time, Rios will be facing an equally fierce opponent who, more or less, also relies on physical strength to win. Rios is only a little less crude than Alvarado in my mind, and that slight difference in class won’t be enough to compensate and win against the first guy who’s bigger and maybe as mean as he is—Parkinson’s-mocking buffoon that he is. I would be surprised if it went to the cards. I like a mid-to-late round stoppage for Alvarado.”
Ted Sares: “This one is a toss-up, but I’ll go with Rios based on two factors: 1) Alvarado’s face has been busted up in the past. In fact, it looked like a pizza after his brutal fight with Prescott. I see Rios’s jarring uppercuts eventually doing heavy damage to Mike’s eyes, possibly hindering his sight. When Bam Bam fought John Murray, he rendered the game Murray’s face a bloody mess. If Prescott could do this Alvarado, I see Rio also doing it. 2) Alvarado is a warrior and brawler first and a boxer second. That’s his profile. He loves to engage. Rios, on the other hand, is a better boxer than most give him credit for. His amateur career was lengthy and stellar. Now he is trained by arguably the hottest trainer in boxing, Robert Garcia. I think Garcia’s preparation and corner work will give Bam Bam an ever-so-slight edge. Caveat: If Mike takes Rios into the late rounds and Rios falters, look for Alvarado to close matters because he is one of those who gets stronger the longer the fight progresses. Therefore, it is imperative for Rios to do damage early and often.
Michael Schmidt: “Admire both guys. Having said that and having watched both guys within reaching distance ringside, on two separate occasions, Alvarado will not be the bigger, stronger guy as he has been holding out during the press junkets. Alvarado also has a tendency to open up on his punches as fights progress leaving himself open down the middle—Rios will come down and up through the middle after pounding the body side to side early—Rios by stoppage, on the canvas type, in eight or nine. Sorry that one of these guys has to lose!!!!”
Peter Wood: “Rios wins by decision. But his battered face looks like he lost.”