by Chris Cella
So often in boxing, a matchup between two top fighters looks tremendous on paper, but falls short when the action begins.
But this Saturday’s fight between undefeated light welterweights Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and Mike “Mile High” Alvarado at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, has all of the components to earn the billing of “Fight of the Year.”
Despite the six-year age difference, Rios, 26, and Alvarado, 32, have nearly mirrored careers; each man started his professional career in 2004 and is ranked within the top ten light welterweights in the world; Rios has 22 KOs in 30 victories, with Alvarado having 23 KOs in 33 wins.
What may be the most connecting fact about these two pugilists is how they leave it all in the ring each time they go to battle, which is why fans can expect fireworks when the bell sounds to commence the opening round Saturday.
This fight is more than simply protecting an unblemished record. A win for either boxer means one step closer to a potential world title fight, and with three of the four top light welterweights in the world in action before the end of the year, this is a huge opportunity to solidify a title eliminator fight for early 2013.
“This is going to be a tough fight,” said Rios. “Alvardo is a tough junior welterweight. Our styles are similar. He likes to come forward and I like to come forward. I don’t like to play a chess game. I like to go in and handle business and he likes to do that too. It’s going to be one helluva fight. The fans are going to love it and I’m going to come out victorious in this one.”
Rios has dealt with his share of issues over his last two fights as he was unable to make weight, but is not concerned about it this time around.
“I didn’t let my fans down,” Rios stated concerning the weight issues. “I don’t feel anything like that. If you can see the videos, I was trying to make weight. It would be a different story if I didn’t try to make weight and I came in heavy and looked heavy but I did try to make my weight. In my last two fights I knew it was starting to get hard. I felt good in the fights but the weight was starting to get harder. I put that behind me and now I am ready for a new division.”
One question going into this fight–Rios’ first test at 140 pounds–will be how his power will carry over into the heavier weight class.
“I was 140 making 135 comfortably,” said Rios. “I always had the power. I could have fought at 140 and had the power. Now I will be fighting at 140 and hitting like a 147 pounder. That power is going to follow me wherever I go. The power never leaves a fighter. I will be ready 100% and the power will be there right with me.”
As he stands opposite Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado will be looking to show the boxing world that he is more than a slugger with heavy hands by displaying his technical boxing.
“My boxing is definitely underrated,” said Alvarado. “I am not just a slugger, I can also box ‘til the end. I have learned a lot about myself in that ring. The fight [against Breidis Prescott, a stoppage win] never took a toll on me. It was a good war with Prescott and has only made me that much stronger. I have the skills and I am ready to do this.”
Only time will tell if this matchup between the two undefeated junior welterweights will live up to the touting of Fight of the Year, but there is no doubt that each fighter will leave it all in the ring as he goes to battle to extend his unbeaten streak and move one fight closer to a world title fight.