by Tim Harrison
2013 was supposed to be the year Brandon Rios got the biggest payday of his career. It should have been the year his name and face were plastered all over banners and marquees alongside Manny Pacquiao. The brash, fast talking brawler from Lubbock, Texas with a good amount of crowd appeal could have been moved along to the next level this year.
Sources all around reported Brandon Rios was next in line after the fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. It seemed like a logical choice, with Pacquiao nearing the end of the road and Rios building a nice following to go with a fan-friendly style, it seemed like a nice passing of the torch type fight. Rios did his part in stopping Alvarado last October; all he needed was for Manny Pacquiao to end the debate and demand for the continuation of his epic fight series with Juan Manuel Marquez. But Marquez had other ideas. With one bone-crushing right hand Marquez increased his price tag in the fifth fight that is only right around the corner, and sent Rios back behind the velvet rope.
Sorry, kid. It’s not your turn yet.
Which brings us to this Saturday night, when Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) takes center stage with “Mile High” Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, with HBO broadcasting the action starting at 10:15 PM ET/7:15 PM PT on Boxing After Dark.
The first fight between Rios and Alvarado was an instant classic. Alvarado had early success against a hard-charging Rios. Alvarado was drawn into a toe-to-toe slugfest and eventually succumbed to the heavy hands of a Brandon Rios making his debut at a new weight class. Their first fight definitely advanced Rios’ star power and gained more recognition, but will a rematch keep him moving in the right direction?
When you look at some of the modern classics, more often than not the rematch fails to live up to the results of the first. Gatti-Ward 2 was an exciting fight in its own right, but Gatti’s more tactical approach sucked the drama and back-and-forth momentum swings out of the rematch. Delvin Rodriguez and Pawel Wolak’s 2011 Fight of the Year was followed up with a more tactical affair, and missed the grotesque lump on Wolak’s eye, in the rematch.
If Alvarado is smart, he’ll opt to take a page from Richard Abril’s book and box, rather than trade bombs with Rios. The end result could be a less than thrilling affair. But Alvarado has that warrior spirit that will take over when he’s hit flush. The potential for a letdown is in place, but if Rios and Alvarado deliver on Saturday night it will be a nice highlight to put on their resumes, and for Rios it will be a great lead-in to when he eventually gets his shot at Top Rank’s current cash cow.