Why Rios Should Beat Alvarado

By Ted Sares on March 19, 2013
Why Rios Should Beat Alvarado
On October 13, 2012, Alvarado and Rios went after each other like two hungry tigers.

Mike “Mile High” Alvarado (33-1) has consistently made Jim Lampley’s “Gatti List” which is one of the features on Jim’s Fight Night. However, while being on the list is reflective of having great heart and being fan-friendly, it’s also reflective of a fighter who can grow old at any time. Rios, by the way, is first on the list and Alvarado is second.

Mile High has been in four consecutive wars beginning with his grueling win over Gabriel Martinez (27-2-1) on July 30, 2011. Mike then engaged in a Fight of the Year-type brawl with Breidis Prescott (24-3) on November 12, 2011; it was his fourth bout of 2011. In that bloodbath, Mike snatched victory from defeat as he pummeled the gassed Colombian into submission with about one minute to go in the last round, but until that point Mike had been on the receiving end of Prescott’s bombs and had been catcher to Prescott’s pitcher.

Alvarado’s next fight was with the slick Mauricio Herrera (18-1), but Herrera decided to brawl rather than be a slickster, and the result was another grueling 10 rounds of mutually shared punishment. Then on October 13, 2012, Mike and Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (30-0-1) went after each other like two hungry tigers until Rio willed his way to a 7th round stoppage. This was my FOTY and was another where Mike took too much punishment for too long a time. In his last four outings, mike has fought almost 37 rounds. His days of early stoppage wins seem to have waned.

Rios has absorbed a lot of punishment as well, but when a fighter says “I love this stuff” as he did between rounds against Alvarado, one has to wonder whether the punishment is having any negative impact.

These two warriors will rematch at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on March 30, 2013

Prediction: As soon as Alvarado is on the receiving end of one of Rios’ sustained and deadly combos, he will slow down markedly. Rios will then press the advantage and the fight will be halted early and mercifully. Fact is, Mike will grow old overnight in this one. Four wars in a row are simply too many. I see this ending like the second Arguello-Pryor match.

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  1. the thresher 06:11pm, 03/23/2013

    Bodyshots, If Rios ends this one early, he can come out of it just fine. But if they go to war again, you are 100% correct. I’m betting on an early stoppage.

  2. Bodyshots 03:43pm, 03/23/2013

    this rematch is redundant and it’s sparing the other presumed 140lb-contenders from having to survive the Rios or Alvarado gauntlet. consequently, the careers of both fighters will be compromised by what promises to be another brutal ring-war. it’s the same reason Arum won’t rematch Bradley v. Provodnikov. this is Vasquez v. Marquez all over again and for what considering that 140lbs is replete with excellent competition for Rios and Alvarado to mix-it-up against. oh well, i’ll enjoy the fireworks while imagining what a Rios v. Mathysse and Alvarado v. Khan would’ve looked like instead otherwise, i already know what Rios v. Alvarado looks like: WAR.

  3. the thresher 10:30am, 03/21/2013

    Jason, they have been saying that for a while now, but so far it has not happened. Maybe Garcia can do it because he can pop.

  4. Jason 05:32pm, 03/20/2013


    Yes, Rios is a good fighter. I like him, actually. I understand pressure fighters have different footwork and techniques. I stand corrected on some level.

    But I did see some sloppiness and I did see him off balance. In fact, he looked arm weary and dead legged before he stopped him. Alvarado may not be the kind of boxer to beat Rios, but there are plenty of boxers in the 40s who can. And we all know Rios loves to fight and take shots, just so happens there are boxers in his class who would love to accommodate him.

    Hey, maybe he’s capable of switching it up. Maybe, that was the game plan for Alvarado. All I’m saying, that style will get him beat from a good and fast outside fighter.

  5. Tex Hassler 04:07pm, 03/20/2013

    Rios is my pick and I think Alvarado is shopworn but it will still be a good fight.

  6. fightdoc 03:47pm, 03/20/2013

    I agree with the thresher that if you look at Rios’ amateur background (235-30; U.S. National Amateur Champion) it is evident that the guy MUST know how to box….and in fact he is an excellent boxer; I’ve seen him do it in the gym and when sparring. He just loves to FIGHT and has been able to impose his will on just about every fighter he has ever fought. But I disagree with Jason when he says Rios has no footwork. I have been around boxing for 2 decades (I even train and box/spar regularly) and I can unequivocally state that the kind of footwork Rios does is subtle, yet effective. He is rarely off balance and has very fast feet; you just can’t get away from him! Ask “fast” fighters like Acosta and A. Peterson!! Rios is one of the best in boxing at keeping his opponent right in front of him so that he can do most of his damage with his superior inside game. It isn’t slick, but trust me, it is a truly skillful type of footwork that allows him to stay within striking distance at all times. That is why Acosta couldn’t keep out of harms way for more than 6 rounds. That is why A. Peterson decided he had to DQ himself once he realized he couldn’t keep Rios off of him, That is why Antillon was KO’d in 3 rounds. That is why Abril was forced to grab and hold the ENTIRE FIGHT. That is why Alvarado couldn’t stay on the outside and effectively use his lengthy jab and long right hook/cross for very long before ending up trading with Rios on the inside and ultimately getting KO’d. The same thing will happen in this fight….does anyone really think Alvarado can box any better?? He threw 400 jabs and threw over 770 punches in less than 7 rounds, while trying to stay on the outside, so I doubt that he can. Rios KNOWS he can hurt Mike and Mike must have huge doubts about whether or not he can hurt Rios.  Rios will slow Mike down by the 3rd round with hard shots to the head and a brutal body attack….I predict 4th or 5th round KO for Bam Bam!

  7. the thresher 08:33am, 03/20/2013

    Bikermike, Old Yank is no longer with us.

  8. dollarbond 08:14am, 03/20/2013

    I agree.

  9. bikermike 07:40am, 03/20/2013

    John Howard
    Re ‘kelly pavlick jogging…...Old Yank WAS a big fan of his.’

    Is Old Yank still with us ???  (was)

  10. the thresher 06:19am, 03/20/2013

    Maybe once a brawler always a brawler. Rios has the amateur background that tells me he can resort to boxing if he so desires. Against Abril, he simply underestimated the Cuban and came in under-trained. That is something he needs to watch.

    Still, it’s not that often we get to watch old school-type sluggers winging away as they did in the past. Shades of Graziano, DeMarco, etc.

  11. Mike Casey 06:16am, 03/20/2013

    Yep, Ted, I remember you calling it when we did the predictions. As you say, Mike’s got to take greater care of himself, but I’m not sure he knows how to.

  12. the thresher 06:11am, 03/20/2013

    Jason, his corner should be fired. Plus that one guy kept on screaming at him instead of trying to get some calm into the situation. I can’t stand corners who scream. Joe Goossen is one that should be copied as he is very quiet and careful in what he says to a boxer. Fact is, if you can just make one good point between rounds, you are ahead of the curve.

    I must say, Freddie did a very good job on Saturday.

    Mike, I had Rios, but it was a coin toss for me.

  13. the thresher 06:07am, 03/20/2013

    Thanks Teron. Much appreciated.

    And thank you for your weekly wrap-ups as they generate ideas for articles.

  14. Jason 06:06am, 03/20/2013

    Thresher, oh absolutely. Bradley nearly ruined his career—he certainly shortened it by about two years!

  15. Mike Casey 06:06am, 03/20/2013

    Alvarado was my pick for the first fight, but I can’t see him winning the second.

  16. Bk don 05:59am, 03/20/2013

    Excellent piece by Mr. Sares. I don’t think Alvarado knows how to tie up a fighter, judging by the way he reacted prior to the stoppage at Rios’ hands. It’s almost impossible for this fight to live up to the first 1 but b/c of their respective styles this should be fun for as long as it last. I agree with Thresher that Rios hasn’t been in that many wars, however I think his body does have a ton of wear and tear on it from the stresses that come w/losing so much weight in such a short period of time to make weight.. That, much like it did w/Vargas and numerous other fighters, will eventually catch up to him.

  17. the thresher 05:14am, 03/20/2013

    Jason, the very same could be said for Bradley’s people. He was lured into a brawl.

  18. Pete The Sneak 04:23am, 03/20/2013

    @Joseph Heron: Dude, I hear what you’re saying. Alvarado will try to tie up Rios on the inside. But rest assured, that will only last a couple of rounds. As Rios begins to connect, Mile High Mike will do what he does best and that’s fight back at will. While I agree that most return bouts (like movie sequels) don’t live up to the expectations, I got a hunch this will be the ‘Godfather II’ of rematches. I see Rios winning this fight in exciting fashion by the 8th Round. Just saying. Peace.

  19. Jason 06:17pm, 03/19/2013

    Funny, I just watched the fight in HBO’s archives.

    Alvarado should fire his corner. There was no reason why he should have lost.  Rios fights straight up, squared up, and takes punches. Albeit, he takes them well and has decent head movement, but he has no footwork.

    I hope Alvarado and his team go back to the tape and see how he could have jabbed and delivered straight rights and hooks until Rios’ head came off. For the life of me, I don’t understand why they fought the fight they did.

  20. the thresher 04:55pm, 03/19/2013

    Naw. No 3rd fight. This will not be Gatti-Ward.

  21. Joseph Herron 04:12pm, 03/19/2013

    Guys, I’m afraid this fight will be a stinker compared to the first epic battle.  I predict Alvarado will elect to tie up Rios on the inside this time whenever Brandon makes his way within Mike’s defense, rather than slugging it out like the first time.  Just like many return bouts before this one, the second rarely lives up to the first. 

    Expect an Alvarado decision and a third bout later this year.

  22. John Howard 02:41pm, 03/19/2013

    I saw Kelly Pavlik jogging several months ago. Old Yank was a big fan of his.

  23. John Howard 02:36pm, 03/19/2013

    Oxnard, Calif. has become the Kronk Gym west! Our middleweight champ, Sergio Martinez, resides here too.

  24. the thresher 02:21pm, 03/19/2013

    Bill has the beat

  25. Bill from NH 02:07pm, 03/19/2013

    Both are great fighters and you can’t say either doesn’t have the heart, but I agree that Rios has a little more something going on. This guy loves the brawls. Either way, I think it’ll be a great fight and I too have become a big fan of Rios.

  26. the thresher 02:02pm, 03/19/2013

    But I think he learned a lesson by that and later apologized. His amigo, Marg, was also a party to that infamatia.

    Nasty stuff, that.

    Yes, Garcia is clearly the best trainer out there these days.

  27. John Howard 02:00pm, 03/19/2013

    I agree that Rios will prevail in this fight. I live in Oxnard, Calif. where Rios trains under Roberto Garcia who has turned-out to be a world-class trainer. I like Rios’ fan-friendly style, but his mocking of Freddie Roach a few years ago was extremely low-class.

  28. the thresher 01:35pm, 03/19/2013

    Good point but Rios has not really been in that many wars. He usually does the hitting. The Alvarado fight could have the same impact on Rios, but I’m betting the other way. Four wars in a row is just too many,

  29. Don from Prov 01:21pm, 03/19/2013

    Not saying that this is the case with Rios, but I often wonder when anyone announces that he loves punishment/pain/getting clocked/pushing the very edge if that person isn’t trying to convince him (or her) self of something.

    Rios is one of my favorite fighters and I expect to see him win.

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