FRED STERNBURG: When Ernie Banks said “Let’s Play Two” he had to be thinking about the Brandon “Bam-Bam” Rios and Mike “Mile High” Alvarado Interim World Championship rematch coming up on March 30 at Mandalay Bay Live on HBO. Last year’s fight many thought was the Fight-of-the-Year and they are expecting the same.
BOB ARUM: Coming off the great fight we had last week with Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov we are looking at really one of the great highlights of the first quarter. The first fight between Brandon and Mike was excellent and we are looking for an equally good fight this time. Brandon and Mike know one thing – they know how to fight and they know how to bring it. It’s great for the fans and I’m looking forward to it on March 30.
BRANDON RIOS: Training camp is going great. I feel really great. I am very hyped up to meet another warrior in the ring as myself. We want to give the fans what they want — another fight. It’s going to be a great fight and I couldn’t be any more excited.
MIKE ALVARADO: Camp is going great. Everything is on schedule. I am here training at home [Denver] and like Brandon said, it’s going to be another great fight. It’s going to be a great show for everyone and I am just glad to have this opportunity to fight.
Do you think it is too soon for a rematch?
BRANDON RIOS: It’s never too soon to do it again. Like I said, we are warriors and if you are a warrior, you want to fight again and again and again. It is never too soon. The first fight was great. I feel great and I’m ready for another battle. I am just ready to do it again. I am ready for another battle. Why wait? It is never too soon.
MIKE ALVARADO: I agree with Brandon. I can’t wait for the chance to redeem myself from the first fight and it is a fight that everyone wants to see, so it’s fight on. And we’re ready to do it.
BOB ARUM: I don’t usually like to do immediate rematches but this first fight was really so great. There was a demand for it to get done and the people at HBO came up with a financial package that was very appealing. Both fighters are getting considerable more than they got the first time. It’s the exception that proves the rule.
Mike, did you think the first fight was going to turn into a war?
MIKE ALVARADO: I knew it was going to. Everyone kind of has a game plan when they go into a fight. I knew it was going to turn into that kind of fight and I had prepared for a war. And that’s the kind of fight it ended up being.
Do you plan to make it less of a war this time to get a better chance to win?
MIKE ALVARADO: You can always train differently to try to change things up but I think our styles and the way we approach the ring, it is automatically going to turn into that kind of fight. They are the styles we have. We are both warriors.. We just fight and whoever comes out on top, that’s just the way it’s going to go.
Do either of you see yourself when you look across the ring in a fight like this?
BRANDON RIOS: We have the same type of style. We both go fight each other. We try to get the job done the only way we know how. We can try to change it up in the gym, but once the bell rings and we get hit we go back to doing what we know how to do. That’s the warrior mentality that comes out of us. Mike Alvarado is Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios is Brandon Rios. We are going to give the fans what they want and we are going to give them a good show.
MIKE ALVARADO: Once we get in the ring – we can train any way we want – but once we get in that ring it’s on us to make adjustments and not get hit like we did, but you never know. There is only one way to find out and that’s when we get in the ring on the 30th, we’ll see what happens.
You were perceived as the lighter puncher when you moved up in weight…
BRANDON RIOS: I had to get out of the lightweight division. I couldn’t make the weight any more. I was a big 135 the whole time and eventually it caught up to me. I had thought moving up in weight would give me more power and benefit me more and that’s what happened. I felt strong.
Did you feel stronger than Mike?
BRANDON RIOS: I am strong no matter what. I come to fight. I come to bring it. I had power at 135 and I have power at 140. Now I don’t have to make those last five pounds and I don’t have to dehydrate myself. So I feel very strong and the power is going to be there even more this time.
Do you think the fight will go as long as the first?
BRANDON RIOS: I am pretty sure it will go the same way. I’m sure he feels the same way to. I am gunning for a knockout. That’s the way I feel right now.
MIKE ALVARADO: He is a warrior and he came and brought all he had. He’s strong. He knows what he has. I was in there with him before and I know what to expect this next time around. I have a game plan and I’ll come back with something a little different this time. We still have to get in with each other again and we know what we are bringing into the ring. And we are going to do it again.
Did Rios force you out of your game plan the first fight?
MIKE ALVARADO: I didn’t really have a game plan. I just fought like I usually do. That is the style I like to fight – it’s the only way I know how. I didn’t change anything up. I made a couple of adjustments in the ring but I wasn’t at the top of my game like I should have been.
Is there anything you have to do differently?
MIKE ALVARADO: I just have to be on my game. I am going to fight the same way. I will make adjustments to overcome situations. On fight night, in the ring, I will make those adjustments.
What do you think about fighting Bradley or Marquez?
BRANDON RIOS: First of all, Mike Alvarado is all that’s in my mind. I have to fight Mike Alvarado before I think of anything else.
Do you think Alvarado will fight the same of different?
BRANDON RIOS: Mike Alvarado is a fighter. He is going to come in the middle of the ring and fight toe-to-toe. I expect him to fight the same way as he did the first time.
What did you think about the Bradley-Provodnikov fight?
MIKE ALVARADO: I thought Bradley got a good opportunity to prove himself, show that heart. He was knocked out on his feet pretty much. I thought the referee was fair the more I saw it.
BRANDON RIOS: I was watching the fight at home. I was almost jumping on the TV watching that fight. It brought back memories. I was like ‘Damn, they are showing the warrior spirit.’ They were going at it. Like they said, Bradley came out with a different game plan and he proved that he’s a warrior and a fighter.
It must be nice watching a brawl like that from outside the ring?
BRANDON RIOS: Even today I watched our match. I wake up in the morning and when I get back from my run I watch our fight. After I go to the gym, I watch it. Before I go to bed, I watch it. I am a fan of our fight and I am a fan of that fight.
MIKE ALVARADO: I have watched our right a few times. I remember it like the back of my hand so I don’t have to go over it too much. It is going to be the same kind of fight with a few adjustments. We are just going to go out there and do it again.
Are you surprised at how much action there was in the first fight?
BRANDON RIOS: I was very amazed. It was like watching an Arturo Gatti – Micky Ward fight. I couldn’t believe we stood up to the big shots. We were both landing big shots going toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring. Like I said, I am a big fan mine, and his, so it was awesome.
While watching ”Road to Rios-Alvarado II” I noticed a couple of cuts on your cheek…
MIKE ALVARADO: No, it hasn’t hindered me. It was just a little accident. I was just at the wrong place and the wrong time and it was a little accident. It happened outside the ring and I am fine.
Why are you fighting Rios again? Is it personal?
MIKE ALVARADO: Why will I fight him again? It is a fight that the fans want. Having the rematch gives me an opportunity to redeem myself after the first fight. That was a good fight. I like fights like that. We are both warriors. We want fights like that.
Bob, do you see how this fight will co-mingle with the Bradley-Provodnikov fight and Pacquiao coming up in the fall?
BOB ARUM: Fans aren’t stupid. They want to see action. Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios are action fighters. Timothy Bradley showed that he is an action fighter. Juan Manuel Marquez is an action fighter. Many Pacquiao is an action fighter. Ruslan Provodnikov is an action fighter. They don’t play around. They don’t dance around. They fight. That’s what the public wants to see, so we’ll mix and match as we go along because they are the big fights that people want to see. That is the way the fighters can be rewarded monetarily.
Mike, can you talk about Rudy Hernandez and what he adds to your training camp?
MIKE ALVARADO: Rudy is a great trainer. He came into my camp and made a few adjustments and has gone over a few things from the first fight. We have been going over the game plan for this fight. Moving around a little bit. We will fight the same way, just a little bit of adjustments. Since bringing Rudy in, he has made some good adjustments.
BOB ARUM: Tickets are selling extremely well and we are very pleased with that. There are only approximately 1,500 tickets left. We are selling 60 or 70 a day so I am pretty sure we will have a sellout by fight time. There is one bit of advice I want to give both fighters – nobody smoke a joint – wait till after the fight is over.
MIKE ALVARADO: I am ready and hyped up for this fight. I have had a great training camp. The fight is right around the corner and I am ready to put on a good show and go to war again with Brandon. I am honored to be a part of the show.
MIKE ALVARADO: I am very excited and hyped up for this fight and can’t wait to get in the ring. Everyone around the world get to Mandalay Bay. It is going to be a better show than the first one. Mike Alvarado is trying to get his revenge so he is training harder so I am ready and very excited. It’s going to be one exciting fight again.