Mike Alvarado defeats Brandon Rios in a classic.


Alvarado rocking Rios. Photo Credit: HBO Boxing.

Mike Alvarado proved that he did not deserve to be an underdog this past Saturday night by defeating Brandon Rios via unanimous decision. The memorable, violent fight proved that these two fighters are made for one another. Like Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez, these two have a magical chemistry in the ring.

After a competitive first round, Rios badly rocked Alvarado with a jab in the second frame. Alvarado barely survived to make it out of the round. It was a 10-9 round for Rios but it was close to being a 10-8. Not to be outdone, Alvarado came back in the third round to badly hurt Rios with an overhand right. The rounds that followed were incredible competitive  back and forth rounds with both men trading brutal shots. After the mid-point, Alvarado was able to use the space in the ring and his timing to rack up the rounds. But we still saw Rios going after him, trying his best to bring the right to his in-ring arch-rival. Alvarado was just too good on this night, and he walked away with the rightful, decision victory.

I scored the fight 116-112 for Alvarado, but trust be told, I was not very confident with my judging for this fight. I felt some rounds were awfully close and I was more enthralled with the action that actually scoring. The only thing I was confident in was saying was that I felt Alvarado was the better boxer on that night.

The first fight was more compact, we had consistent action for seven full rounds. In the second fight, the defense was tighter and the technique sharper. It took a second viewing for me to realize that I genuinely preferred the second bout. After and even during the fight, talk immediately turned to how it compares to Timothy Bradley vs Ruslan Provodnikov. We’ve just completed the first quarter of 2013, and we already have two legitimate “Fight of the Year Candidates”. After my first viewing of Rios-Alvarado II, my thought was that I slightly preferred the Bradley-Provodnikov tilt. I felt that it had better bookends, higher drama, a great underdog story and a climatic rally by Provodnikov at the end.

However since watching Rios-Alvarado II a second time, I’m less certain now. While I scored the fight 8 rounds to 4 for Alvarado, the fight was ultra competitive and beautifully tight. It was a great fight in its own right, reminding us that great fights come in all shapes and sizes. I feel that it’s probably best to wait until the year is coming to an end and then decide what is truly the superior fight. Also, who knows, we might have more  FOTYC to consider in 2013. It’s going to be a great year for boxing.

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