By Kirk Jackson
Saturday, March 30th at the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas marks the day of the rematch between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios.
The first fight was a classic slugfest, lasting 7 rounds before finally being called to a halt by referee Pat Russell.
Both fighters left bloody and bruised, but it was Rios who emerged victorious scoring a 7th round TKO victory after landing a lethal right hand to stun Alvarado, followed by a series of powerful punches with Alvarado trapped against the ropes and in serious danger.
Is was a classic initial bout and the sequel is expected to be just a great.
Rios is the bigger name of the two fighters, has a little more luster because of his style and he is in a better position right now to make big moves.
His name often come up for potential fantasy matches between star fighters surrounding the 140 and 147 weight divisions. Some of these fantasy fights include seeing Rios paired up with Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Adrien Broner and even Manny Pacquiao.
But that doesn’t matter to Alvarado and could work to his advantage. Often times a fighter will get distracted from the task at hand if they’re constantly told of the pot gold at the end of the rainbow.
Meaning if Rios is not careful, he could be looking past Alvarado, and can dearly for it.
Rios could be heavily distracted by the potential blockbuster match-ups for him on the horizon, (if he were to win). Alvarado is certainly motivated to exact revenge against the only person to defeat him.
Despite being the heavy underdog, Alvarado is in great position to win this fight. Alvarado was ahead on the cards entering the 7th round on my estimation and two out of the three judges had the fight even.
He has the stamina and punch output to not only keep up with Rios, but to ward off Rios. Alvarado threw more punches and landed more overall punches than Rios in their first fight. The telling tale was Rios landed slightly more power punches.
Alvarado has the offensive skill level to hit Rios at will, which is what got Alvarado trouble. He was lured into a slugfest, with his daring to be great and willingness to mix it backfiring.
Alvarado is an inch taller and has an inch and a half reach advantage over Rios, so he could box from the outside if he chose to. And that would probably be his best strategy, similar to Richar Abril, who had success against Rios using that tactic despite suffering a controversial split decision defeat.
The fans and many boxing analysts expect a slugfest similar to their first fight. But I expect something a little bit different. There will be fire works, but not as many as the first fight.
Rios has a style similar to one of his mentors, Antonio Margarito. He is a pressure fighter. He goes to the body, has good stamina and likes to mix it up. And like his mentor, he isn’t the most defensive fighter out there. He can be hit and rather easily.
Alvarado can showcase more of his boxing skills in this rematch. Instead exchanging punch for punch with Rios, throw a couple punches and side step to the right. Stick the jab in Rios’ face all night. Throw the double, triple jab and side step around Rios. When on the inside, throwing the uppercut and getting out of the trenches. Yes this sounds easier said than done but Alvarado can do it.
Alvarado has the advantage of hand speed, can take a punch, has a ton of heart, endurance and is a little more refined on the offensive end in regard to what he can do. He can use all these traits to his advantage.
Plus we all know Rios is coming for Alvarado’s head. In an interview with the “Boxing Channel,“ he alluded to wanting to end the fight earlier than he did the last fight.
“The five rounds that there are talking about are gonna be great,” said Rios.
“I’m ready for 12 rounds no matter what. I train for 12, actually I train for 20.”
With that said and with the expectations of this bout being an all out war, Alvarado use this to his advantage and can set traps and break down Rios slowly.
He knows Rios is hunting for him and is going to press the fight, he can capitalize on the mistakes and try to put himself in the best defensive position.
Some may be disappointed, especially if it’s not gut busting action every single round, but it’s hard to fault a man trying to win a boxing match the best way he can. I think Alvarado will do that and win a unanimous decision.