By: William Holmes
The junior welterweight division is stacked, and even though a lot of the top junior welterweights fight for Golden Boy Promotions, Top Rank has a few crowd pleasing junior welterweights of their own. In fact two junior welterweights under their control are giving boxing fans a sequel to their thrilling encounter and fight of the year candidate from last year.
Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank
Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado will meet again on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Not only will they have a difficult time topping their last encounter, but they will also have a difficult time topping the action on HBO’s last televised bout between Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov.
Breidis Prescott, the first man to defeat Amir Khan, will be fighting on the undercard against Terrance Crawford.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts.
Breidis Prescott (26-4) vs. Terrance Crawford (19-0); Junior Welterweights
Young prospects should be chomping at the bit to take advantage of any airtime that HBO is willing to give them since HBO has announced that they will no longer televise Golden Boy fighters on their network. Terrance Crawford is one of those prospects that could be made a star with the help of HBO.
Crawford is just entering his prime and is 28 years old. He has spent most of his career fighting as a lightweight but he has the frame to fit comfortably within the welterweight division. Crawford has competed and won as an amateur against the likes of Deigo Magdaleno, Danny Garcia, Carlos Molina, and Mikey Garcia.
However, he has spent most of his professional career fighting against subpar competition. He has 15 TKO/KO’s on his record and five of his last six fights have ended in a stoppage but they did not come against quality opposition. He fought four times in 2012 and Prescott will be his first real challenge.
Prescott first made waves with his 1st round KO over Amir Khan in 2008 but his career has since fizzled. He has 20 TKO/KO’s on his record but he has last two of his last four fights.
Prescott does have a reputation for giving undefeated prospects a tough and stern test. His last loss came against Mike Alvarado in 2011. He was winning on the scorecards before being knocked down in the 10th round and having the fight stopped by the referee. He barely lost a decision to Paul McCloskey in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He lost another close split decision to current lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez. And he lost to the then undefeated Kevin Mitchell in 2009.
Prescott has the skills and experience to make it a very tough fight for Crawford, but this is Crawford’s coming out party. An impressive victory for Crawford will mean we can add another name to watch in the crowded and talented junior welterweight division.
Mike Alvarado (33-1) vs. Brandon Rios (31-0-1); Junior Welterweights
When Brandon Rios won a highly disputed split decision over Richard Abril in April of 2012 his stock took a major hit. Not only did he win a decision that many thought he lost, he came into the fight two pounds overweight.
However, Rios able to regain the goodwill of boxing fans everywhere with his thrilling 7th round TKO over Mike Alvardo in October of 2012. It was so thrilling that a rematch was made, and there’s talk that a Rios victory could lead to an eventual matchup with Manny Pacquiao.
Brandon Rios has the amateur background that many champions possess. He’s the former U.S. National Amateur Featherweight champion and a US Olympic alternate. He’s trained by world renowned trainer Roberto Garcia. He’s a thrilling fighter, 23 of his victories have come by way of KO/TKO. And he has a large fan base to draw from based on his Mexican-American heritage.
Rios is already a boxing star, but he has the potential to be an even bigger one.
Mike Alvarado is just as exciting as Rios. 23 of his victories have also come by way of KO/TKO, but he does have a slightly lower knockout ration than his opponent. He’ll also have a very slight height and reach advantage inside the ring.
Alvarado is 32, and is nearing the end of his “prime” fighting years. This could very well be one of his last chances to make a run at a legitimate world title. Alvardo is a hard puncher with a high work rate, but his defense is suspect.
He’s defeated the likes of Mauricio Herrera, Gabriel Martinez, Ray Narh, and Breidis Prescott. However, he was losing to Prescott before coming in strong in the late rounds to stop him in the 10th.
His only loss was to Brandon Rios in his last fight. He was hurt when the referee stopped the action, but at the time he felt it was stopped too early. If he had the same referee that Timothy Bradley had in his fight against Ruslan Provodnikov, he likely would have been allowed to continue.
There’s too much on the line for Brandon Rios to lose this fight. It should be another exciting and action packed fight, but Rios will have the mental edge in knowing that he beat Alvarado in their last fight and it should help lead him to victory on Saturday.