Mike Alvarado beats Brandon Rios; offers rival the chance for a third fight
Mike Alvarado gained revenge for his defeat to Brandon Rios in 2012 with a unanimous points victory in their rematch on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Mike Alvarado: Keen to face fellow American Brandon Rios for a third time
Alvarado provided a strong finish in the closing stages of the 12-rounder to get the nod 115-113 on two of the scorecards, the third judge at ringside scoring it 114-113 in his favour.
Mike Alvarado beats Brandon Rios in boxing rematch for WBO title
By Nick Groke
LAS VEGAS — The long left hook by Mike Alvarado to the face of Brandon Rios with :50 seconds remaining in another brutal brawl between the two was just one of hundreds landed here Saturday night.
Brandon Rios, left, takes a punch from Mike Alvarado in a fight for the vacant WBO junior welterweight championship in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Alvarado won the rematch. First time around in October, Rios won by TKO in the seventh round. (Steve Marcus, Reuters)
And it was the punch that won Denver's Alvarado the interim WBO junior welterweight championship by unanimous decision.
In a rematch called for by both fighters and fans alike, Alvarado won 115-113, 115-113 and 114-113. He avenged a loss in October that many called the best fight of 2012.
The second matchup is now the leading contender for fight of the year for 2013.
"I'm always better the second time around," Alvarado (34-1) said in the ring afterward. Rios responded by climbing the ropes and holding up three fingers. "I gave you a rematch. Now I deserve one. Let's do three."
Alvarado agreed. But first, both fighters were sent to an area hospital after the fight for CT scans, on orders from the Las Vegas boxing commission.
That flush left hook clinched the deciding round and put Alvarado ahead for good.
Through the first half of the fight, they smiled and chatted at each other like old friends playing checkers, even after Alvarado climbed back into the bout in the third round. Two monster right hooks wobbled Rios' knees, but Rios (31-1-1) kept his balance and fought on.
They both fought on. To the end. The bout was tied after the eighth round, then Alvarado hit the gas. The crowd, in a fever dream of screams, started chanting "3-0-3" -- replacing the California-heavy "Rios" chants that dominated earlier rounds.
"My plan was to box and move," Alvarado said. "But he kept drawing me into a brawl."
Henry Delgado, Alvarado's manager, said the fight was made at high altitude. Alvarado trained for several weeks running 7-8 miles at Red Rocks Ampitheatre.
"That was the difference this time. Mike had better legs," he said.
Rios, for his part, never back-pedaled. He fought forward at Alvarado all night. But Alvarado danced to Rios' right, then popped in for jabs and hooks.
"They both fought their hearts out," said Robert Garcia, Rios' trainer. It is Rios' first loss in 33 professional fights.
On the line Saturday in the late-night bout were career-high purses for both fighters. Alvarado was guaranteed $650,000; Rios, the bigger draw, took home $1 million.
Alvarado is now first Denver-bred world champ since Stevie "Lil' But Bad" Johnston defended his second WBC lightweight title five times in 1999-2000.
"As much as you know the sun is coming up in the morning, they will fight again," said Top Rank's Bob Arum, who promoted the fight.
Alvarado beats Rios in brutal rematch
MANILA, Philippines – Mike Alvarado avenged the first loss of his career, outpointing Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios after 12 brutal rounds in their rematch Saturday at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, and likely paving the way for a trilogy bout.
Brandon Rios (L) of the U.S. takes a punch from compatriot Mike Alvarado during a super lightweight bout for an interim 140lb WBO title at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada March 30, 2013. The fight was a rematch from an October 13, 2012 fight which Rios won. Photo by Steve Marcus, Reuters.
It was sweet revenge for Alvarado, who was stopped by Rios in the seventh round when they met for the first time in October 2012.
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