By Mike Sloan at ringside in Las Vegas:Mike Alvarado has stated many times since his epic first bout with Brandon Rios that it was stopped prematurely. Some agreed, some didn’t. He’s professed profusely many a time since that he’ll have a better result whenever he met Rios again. On Saturday night inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center, he did just that.
Alvarado exacted revenge against his rival in what will easily be a candidate for Fight of the Year. “Mile High” eked out a hotly-contested unanimous decision after twelve torrid rounds, surviving an early scare, a busted up face and a nasty laceration above his left eye. Alvarado promised to fight a smarter fight this time around and though he and Rios waged toe-to-toe warfare in most of the rounds, the Denver product boxed well on the outside and tore into Rios on the inside.
In essence, Alvarado fought more intelligently and Rios wasn’t as prepared as he possibly could have been for the angles Alvarado gave him late in the fight. Alvarado got the better of the exchanges for much of the war and whenever he backed away – and when Rios chased him down – his straight right hand found a home almost every time he threw it.
But it wasn’t an easy fight by any means. Alvarado was almost knocked off his feet in the second round when he ate a leaping left uppercut. The punch instantly turned Alvarado’s legs to jelly and he was rocked several other times throughout the first half of the fight. But as often as Alvarado’s legs buckled under him, Rios’ did just as often. The difference was when Alvarado switched his gameplan up around the eighth round; he began boxing on the outside and picking Rios off as he came in.
Rios’ relentless pressure kept him in the fight and was able to keep the rounds very close throughout. What did him in was when he simply chased his foe all over the ring without properly cutting it off while eating potshots, he wasn’t able to land as many lethal shots as he did earlier in the brawl.
In the end, Alvarado’s undying will to avenge the only loss of his career kept him afloat early in the fight and his willingness to alter his typical free-swinging style late allowed him to have his hand raised by veteran referee Tony Weeks. The official judges saw it all for Alvarado: two had it 115-113 and the other saw it 114-113. SecondsOut.com also favored Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs), but by a larger margin of 117-11. The overwhelming majority of the ringside media had Alvarado winning as well, but by myriad of scores.
Rios (31-1, 22 KOs) demanded for Alvarado to grant him a rematch immediately after the official verdict was read. Top rank chairman Bob Arum stated that the two will inevitably meet again in the future but he wasn’t in favor of having the two square off against each other in their next bout, opting to hopefully stage at least one setup bout for both before the rubber match. Also, both Alvarado and Rios were taken to the hospital after the bout, preventing either from attending the post-fight press conference.
March 30, 2013