HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Ramirez vs. Vlasov, Alvarado vs. Rios


By: William Holmes

This Saturday night, “Mile High” Mike Alvarado and Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios will meet inside the ring for a third time at 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. Their prior two fights were barn-burners that featured back and forth action that could have gone either way on the judges’ scorecards. Rios won their first matchup by TKO, and Alvarado won their second matchup by a close decision.

Both boxers are coming off losses to highly regarded opponents, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, and a loss for either could hurt their chances for high profile fights down the road.

Mexican super middleweight Gilberto Ramirez will also be making his HBO debut when he faces off against Maxim Vlasov in the co-feature of the night.

The following is a preview of both bouts.

Gilberto Ramirez (30-0) vs. Maxim Vlasov (30-1); Super Middleweights

Gilberto Ramirez is a young Mexican super middleweight boxer who has a very high ceiling. So high, in fact, that his promoter, Bob Arum, believes he could become more popular than Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Ramirez had a successful amateur career and was the Mexican Junior National Champion and a three-time Mexican Amateur Champion. His opponent, Maxim Vlasov, is five years older than Sanchez and the same height, but will be giving up about two inches in reach.

Sanchez has shown that he can stop his opponent. He has twenty-four knockouts on his record, while Vlasov only have fifteen knockouts. In fact, four of the past five fights Sanchez has been involved in resulted in a stoppage, while Vlasov has stopped three of his past five opponents.

Both boxers have been fairly active recently. Vlasov has fought twice in 2014, while Sanchez has fought four times.

Vlasov’s best victories have come against Derrick Findley, Mark Suarez, and Julius Fogle. The best opponent he has faced to date was Isaac Chilemba in February of 2011 in a bout that he lost by a close decision, despite knocking his opponent down twice.

Sanchez is the current NABF and WBO International Super Middleweight Champion. He has defeated the likes of Derrick Findley, Marcus Upshaw, Giovanni Lorenzo, and Fulgencio Zuniga.

This should be an intriguing bout and Vlasov is the best opponent Sanchez has faced to date. But Sanchez is a powerful and long boxer and he should be able to beat Vlasov. However, Vlasov has never been stopped and this fight should go the distance.

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Alvarado (l) and Rios ready to make it a trilogy (Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank)

Mike Alvarado (34-3) vs. Brandon Rios (32-2-1); Welterweights

The first and second bouts between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios were intense and exciting. The third bout between these two warriors should be no different, though it’s unlikely either fighter will be holding a world title belt anytime soon.

Alvarado is thirty-four years old and the recent wars he has been involved in appear to have taken some of the snap out of his punches. Rios is twenty-eight, but his in ring age is much older due to some of the battles he has endured.

Rios is the more accomplished amateur boxer, as he is a former US National Amateur Featherweight Champion as well as an US Olympic Alternate. Alvarado came into boxing at an older age than most, but was able to defeat Andre Dirrell as an amateur.

Alvarado will have a slight one inch height and reach advantage inside the ring on Saturday. He has also stopped twenty three of his opponents, but his last stoppage victory came in 2011. Rios has also stopped twenty three of his opponents, but he has only one stoppage victory in his last five fights and that came against Mike Alvarado in 2012.

Rios is 3-2 in his last five fights while Alvarado is 2-3 in his last five fights. In addition to Alvarado, Rios has also lost to Manny Pacquiao and has a highly disputed victory over Richar Abril. In addition to Rios, Alvarado has lost to Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez.

Rios’ major victories include wins over John Murray, Urbano Antillon, Miguel Acosta, and Anthony Peterson. Alvardo’s big victories include Mauricio Herrera, Breidis Prescott, Ray Narh, and Gabriel Martinez.

Both boxers are on the downswing of their careers. Alvarado looked gun-shy when he faced the living legend Juan Manuel Marquez, and he was stopped by Ruslan Provodnikov in the tenth round. Rios looked sluggish when he was in the ring against Manny Pacquiao and he did not look much better in the ring when he won by DQ over Diego Chaves in his last bout.

Alvarado has two stoppage losses on his resume and his skills appear to be declining at a faster rate than those of Brandon Rios.

This fight, like the two other previous bouts, should be entertaining, but this writer believes Rios will be able to stop Alvarado in the later rounds.

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