By: William Holmes
HBO’s Boxing After Dark series broadcast one of their most anticipated cards ever tonight from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Max Kellerman noted before the fight started that the Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios matchup has the potential to be a fight of the year, and most boxing analysts agreed with him.
This time the analysts were right.
In the junior welterweight division, Mike Alvarado (33-0) and Brandon Rios (30-0) put on a war and a fantastic show for the fans.
To put it bluntly, as Bob Papa put it, it looked like “Rock Em Sock Em Robots.”
As the fighters walked out it was clear that Rios had more fans in attendance than Alvarado. By the end of the fight both fighters gained a multitude of admirers.
The action was so intense, the exchanged were so brutal, that it would have been almost impossible to do a round by round.
In short each round was action packed, and each round was difficult to score. Alvarado fared better when he was a step or two away and landed punches from the outside and probably won the early rounds. At the end Brandon Rios landed 161 punches out of 541 thrown, and Alvarado landed 175 punches out of 779 thrown.
Rios was able to eat the best punches that Alvarado threw, and eventually wore Alvarado out. In the sixth round, one of Rios’s right hooks hurt Alvarado, and they ended the round as they fought every other round: by exchanging brutal combinations.
In round seven Alvarado got hurt badly by a right hook and was staggered badly by the ropes. The referee finally stepped in and stopped the fight at 1:57. After the brutal punishment both fighter’s endured, it was a just stoppage.
Fight of the year? Certainly in contention. Rematch? Yes, please.
In the main event Nonito Donaire (29-1) fought Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3) for the IBF and WBO Super Bantamweight titles.
The first televised fight was a hard act to follow, and the lack of action in the early rounds made some in attendance restless, as boos rained down on the fighters.
It wasn’t because of Nonito Donaire, who was attempting to press the action, but Nishioka was content with staying in a defensive stance while waiting to unload with his left hook. Donaire’s best punch of the night was his straight right hand, and he landed several in the early rounds. By round five, Nishioka looked visibly frustrated by the style of Donaire, and he decided to open up and let go with his hands in round six.
A left inside uppercut by Donaire knocked Nishioka down in the sixth round and the crowd suddenly awoke and erupted in approval. The sixth round had the best action of the night and Nishioka was able to land a few shots of his own
Donaire continued to dominate Nishioka, until he decked Nishioka down in the ninth round with a straight right hand counter. Nishioka was able to get back to his feet, but his corner wisely had the referee stop the fight.
Nonito Donaire wins by TKO at 1:54 of round nine.