Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
For the final chapter of the Mike Alvarado (34-4, 23 KOs) and Brandon Rios’ (33-2-1, 24 KOs) epic three-fight tale, Rios put on a great performance Saturday night, winning by TKO.
A rejuvenated Rios picked up the vacant WBO International welterweight title in Alvarado’s backyard to end the trilogy now, which now stands at 2-1 in favor of the Oxnard fighter.
Alvarado and Rios promised fans a war and before that left no disappointment in the ring from the previous two fights. Rios stopped Alvarado in their first bout, winning by TKO in the seventh round in his backyard at Carson, California. The second fight gave Alvarado a chance for redemption, as he took the victory by unanimous decision after 12 tough rounds.
Rios entered the ring with a crowd full of mixed emotions, as some were booing him, while others gave him much respect. As Alvarado entered, fans wanted to show their love for the hometown kid, but it was quick to change as it seemed Alvarado never showed up for the fight at all.
From Round 1, it was all Rios, as he landed his jab and one-two combinations with precision. Fighting on the inside was just as flawless for Rios as he attacked the body and picked up Alvarado’s head with a devastating uppercut.
Fans quickly started chanting, “Rios Rios Rios,” which drowned out the sounds of “303,” the area code of Denver and the big tattoo Alvarado represents on his chest. The only moment Alvarado stood tall was in the second round when he landed a clear low blow to Rios, and the referee gave him a moment to recover. A pissed off Rios came back in and landed combo after combo until the final bell rang–a pattern that continued into Round 3.
As Alvarado returned to the corner before the fourth round, the ringside doctor conducted an optical test, which it seemed Alvarado failed. Complaining that he lost his vision, the referee and doctor discussed ending the bout, but Alvarado’s corner tried to argue that their man could continue the fight.
Denver fight fans got that old déjà vu feeling from the Ruslan Provodnikov fight in October of 2013, when Alvarado retired on the stool after the 10th round. Once again, the hometown fans were completely disappointed as the fight was waved off.
Boos filled the arena as Alvarado gave his post-fight interview with HBO commentator’s Jim Lampley and Andre Ward, and he quickly headed back to his locker room and called off his post-fight press conference. Rios stayed long after the cameras turned off, answering questions from the media.
Very happy with his performance, Rios stated that he’s not done with his career, and all the people that doubted him before just look stupid now. Many asked what was next, and Rios stated that he would leave that to his manager, Cameron Dunkin, and trainer Robert Garcia.
When long-time nemesis Victor Ortiz was mentioned, Garcia jumped in to respond. “Why not, a good fight, but not very beneficial,” said Garcia.
For Alvarado, what’s next is a big question that needs much thought and consideration. If he did fail a quick optical test, it could be possible Alvarado has a detached retina. While many argue Alvarado’s outside influences may be the cause of three consecutive losses, one has to remember right before the second fight with Rios, when Alvarado was engaged in a bar fight and almost stabbed with a broken beer bottle.
Alvarado put on a great performance in that fight, switching stances and using more defense to throw Rios off. It’s easy to say Denver fight fans continue to be disappointed when the big stage of HBO rolls into town. But for those that were rooting for Rios, they definitely saw fireworks and the only disappointment is that the fight didn’t last longer.