By: William Holmes
HBO’s Boxing After Dark was broadcast from Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. It featured two junior welterweight bouts and the main event was a rematch of one of the most exciting fights of 2012.
The first bout of the night was between Terence Crawford (19-0) and Breidis Prescott (26-4) in the junior welterweight division. Crawford was originally supposed to fight on the untelevised undercard but a late injury to Prescott’s original opponent allowed Crawford to take a big step up in competition.
Most fight fans in attendance were eagerly anticipating a war between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, unfortunately they had to sit through a snooze fest between Terence Crawford and Breidis Prescott.
Prescott was the bigger man with the longer reach inside the ring, but Crawford held a significant speed advantage and possessed some extremely slick defensive skills. Prescott’s best round was the first round, but Crawford switched to a southpaw stance in the second round and remained there.
He pop shotted Prescott with his jab and an occasional straight left hand constantly throughout the night. The crowd started to boo the action, or lack of action, in the fourth round but Crawford continued to play it safe and simply outbox his slower and increasingly frustrated opponent. Prescott suffered a cut outside his left eye in the fifth round and began to throw wild and inaccurate punches.
Crawford nearly knocked Prescott down in the last round, but it was Prescott who needed a knockout to win. He was unable to mount an effective offensive attack on his slick opponent. Terence Crawford remained undefeated with a 99-91, 97-93, and 100-90 scorecard victory.
The much anticipated main event was between Mike Alvarado (33-1) and Brandon Rios (31-0-1) in the junior welterweight division. Alvarado was the first man to walk into the ring and crowd favorite Brandon Rios followed afterwards.
Sometimes a fight is so good that a boxing scribe is barely able to keep up with the action and is forced to just sit back and enjoy the brutality.
In some fights boxers will take a few rounds to feel each other out. Tonight Alvarado and Rios felt each other out for about thirty seconds.
The action was intense and Rios stuck to his tired and true strategy by charging forward and attempt to trap his opponent in the corner. Alvarado changed his strategy tonight by using his feet more and circling away from his opponent. But they still had some fierce and intense exchanges.
Alvarado opened up a cut over his eye in the second round and was hurt by Rios with a very stiff jab that made his legs wobbly. Alvarado however recovered well and came out firing in the third round and landed some very good right hands to the head of Rios. Alvarado hurt Rios with a brutal right uppercut in the third round and the tide began to turn.
The action continued to go back and forth and both fighters were miraculously able to stay on their feet despite eating an insane amount of power shots.
It was a very close fight, but by the 11th round Rios’ corner was frantically yelling at him to throw more punches and land more combinations. Alvarado however wisely stayed moving and occasionally hit Rios with power shots from the outside. Rios hurt Alvarado at the end of the 11th round, but Alvarado closed out the fight with a strong 12th round.
In the end, Alvarado’s new game plan helped secure him the victory as the judges scored it 115-113, 115-113, and 114-113 for the new WBO Light Welterweight World Champion.
Afterwards, Brandon Rios demanded a rematch and Alvarado responded by stating,” The first fight was prematurely stopped, I came back with a better game plan. Brandon gave me a shot to redeem myself, I’ll give him a shot for a trilogy.”
A trilogy is something all fight fans would look forward to.