Expectations will be soaring when undefeated champion Brandon Rios (31-0, 23 KO’s) squares off against Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KO’s) next Saturday night at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Rios-Alvarado II has made itself one of the most anticipated fights of the year, mainly because of the action packed fight that the first one treated the fans with. For Alvarado, it’s a chance for redemption after losing by 7th round TKO to Rios in October of last year, for Rios, it’s to prove that he can do it again. For both of them, it’s about one thing, fighting. The highly anticipated rematch between Rios and Alvarado isn’t about money or fame. Next Saturday night is about getting into that ring and fighting. It’s about giving the fans, for a second time, the fight that they want to see.
The credit for that may go to Rios. Most of the time when a fighter wins a fight by TKO or KO we rarely get the chance to see a second fight. The loser of a fight almost always wants a rematch whether they were soundly defeated or it was a close decision, but the winner rarely gives it to him, especially if he won by knockout. And since Rios was losing the fight to many boxing media outlets at the time he stopped Alvarado, it was almost certain that he would avoid a rematch if he could. Rios could have if he wanted too. Arum could have easily found him another opponent. His undefeated record is on the line and losing to Alvarado would perhaps ruin a big money fight with Pacquiao or Marquez coming up. He could have opted out to wait or took an easier one. Most fighters would have. But he didn’t. He’s putting the big money fight, and the fame fight, aside. Whether it was because the Alvarado fight was the 2012 Fight of the Year on many sports media outlets or whether he wants to prove that he can do it again, the fact that he took the rematch shows that he just wants to fight for the fans. For boxing, it’s something that we love to see.
The rematch of the 2012 Fight of the Year candidate is expected to repeat itself in 2013. Both fighters believe that the fight will be just like the first one, which is a treat to the fans. They expect a toe to toe war with no backing down. They expect an action packed brawl from the time it starts till the time it ends. They both expect to KO their opponent, and it can happen to either one at any time, which is why the fans love this fight.
Alvarado will look to prove that he can beat Rios to avenge his only loss, and perhaps set up a trilogy fight down the road similar to that of great Gatti-Ward trilogy. The reason why this rematch is so intriguing is because of the way the first fight went. It wasn’t just an action packed bout that kept the eyes of the fans on each fighter, waiting to see which one would buckle first or if they would go the full ten rounds in an action packed war. It was a fight that Alvarado was arguably winning before the stoppage, and a fight that was arguably stopped early by referee Pat Russell. It left some speculation that maybe in a rematch, Alvarado would win the fight. Arturo Gatti did lose the first fight to Mickey Ward before coming back to win the next two. Pacquiao lost the first fight to Morales before going on to win the next two. Barrera lost his first fight to Morales and won the next two. The list can go on through history.
The game plan for Rios is simple, repeat what happened last time. Get on the inside of Alvarado’s great jab and bang the body and head. Put enough pressure on him to make him stay on the inside and don’t allow him to box. In the first fight Rios had the advantage when the fight was fought in a phone booth. Alvarado couldn’t land as many shots, and couldn’t defend very well as Rios landed clean shots to his head. Rios will look to do the same in the rematch.
Alvarado must do the exact opposite. He was most effective when his jab was working and Rios was at a safe striking distance. When Alvarado was throwing combinations from the outside all Rios was able to do is keep his hands up, take the shots, and move forward. Rios isn’t one to move his head that much which allowed Alvarado to use his jab effectively. Alvarado will look to box more in the second fight and try to keep the pressure of Rios at bay.
So who wins this rematch? Well that depends on who executes their plan better. And to be honest, most fans might not even care. They just want to see an action packed brawl like the first one. The fans are ready, the fighters are ready, and the boxing world waits for a fight that is expected to mimic the last, and to give the viewers another Fight of the Year candidate. For Rios, it’s about getting inside of Alvarado and doing exactly what he did in the first fight, and for Alvarado, it’s about boxing on the outside but with tons of combinations punching so that Rios can’t get close to him. Either way, regardless of who is more successful at doing what they do best, expect this fight to continue right where it left off, because as they both have said no matter how much time they spend trying to do different things to be prepared for each other, when they get into that ring on March 30th, they will turn into the same fighters that they have been their entire life. And that will be the explosive war that everybody expects to see.