An Unexpected Epic – Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvarado III

Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvarado III

Where it all began.

Back in October 2012, a match was made between between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, a match-up between middle-of-the-pack fringe contenders in the Super Lightweight division, serving as an eliminator for a shot at the WBO belt. Not much was expected in such a stacked division, however, what was to follow was definitely not expected. Rios and Alvarado stood toe-to-toe for seven rounds and traded heavy leather. The seventh round proved pivotal for Rios, who had just started falling behind on the scorecards. He seized the opportunity and pressured Alvarado on the back foot to the ropes. He opened Alvarado’s guard up and had him ducking his head whilst landing heavy blows to the head for a consistent period of time, and the referee waved it off. Alvarado simply couldn’t recover and he knew it was over. Aside from that moment of dominance, these two were evenly matched for the previous six rounds, which set the scene for a second fight.

Rematch and revenge

Fast forward to March 2013, the return bout was set, this time for the vacant WBO World Super Lightweight Championship. Nobody could of imagined any improvement on the first bout. The unimaginable was put into fruition, as Alvarado and Rios pulled out some of most aggressive front-foot Boxing put on display in recent years. This was a great example of a phone booth brawl, and it’s one of those fights the fans seem to appreciate for years to come. Both of them showed some iron, however Alvarado’s heart prevailed. He etched out a win by a single round on the scorecards, but it was hard to say neither of them deserved it. This was rectified by this fight being crowned Fight of the Year 2013.

Mixing it with the best

There was chatter around the third fight straight away after the return bout, however both fighter’s went their separate ways after losing their undefeated records, with both having lost some momentum in their careers since then. Rios ended 2013 by losing an incredibly one sided decision against a resurgent Manny Pacquiao, and then earned a scrappy DQ victory against Diego Gabriel Chavez in probably the worst fight of 2014. Alvarado went on to lose his World Title in his first defence against a rising Ruslan Provodnikov who had just earned some deserved recognition in a fight against an undefeated Timothy Bradley. Alvarado was put down twice in the eighth round and eventually stopped after attaining some pretty atrocious cuts in a one-sided fight. He then earned a fight against the great Juan Manuel Marquez. Again, a one-sided fight where his scrappy style was bettered by a technically sound Boxer. He got put down slickly in round eight, but responded well in round nine by putting down Marquez, but ultimately, this amounted to nothing as Marquez went on to win the final three rounds and earn a dominant decision win.

Old paths cross at a new weight

With both fighters at a bit of a cross-roads in their careers, and having both moved up to Welterweight in a bid to attain some success at a new division; it was a smart move to place these two in a rubber match, and finally crown a real winner in what is sure to be the ultimate fight of one of the most epic trilogies in Boxing history. That fight takes place tonight in Colorado. Even with an International belt on the line and a likely opportunity at an eliminator, the real prize on the line here is bragging rights and pride. The reason these two have put on two wars so far is because their styles are so recklessly similar. There’s not much in the way of defence, they both attack on the front foot and look to open up their opponents guard without concentrating on their own. The Boxing ability isn’t elite, but they use it to be an aggressor to their power punching which is the main component to both of their games.

 The tales of two fighters

My honest expectation is a third instant classic tonight, the styles just suit each other so well, and it’s hard to call a winner between the two, however my gut is saying Rios. He edges the Boxing ability check box just by a little more than Alvarado. Adding to that, Alvarado’s personal life is at the forefront at the moment as he was found guilty of possession of an illegal firearm just last week, and is set to be indicted after this fight. That weighing on his mind isn’t going to fill him with confidence, especially knowing that Rios has stopped him before. I think Rios showed some more maturity against an elite fighter in the form Manny Pacquiao, but I didn’t feel as confident about Alvarado against Marquez. Alvarado’s heart is something you can’t deny but for me,  Rios edges the decision.

I think this one will follow suit of the other two, the styles are just too perfect and the motive to fight hard is there, so this isn’t one to miss, it’ll be an instant classic. Good luck with your bets!


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