Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado preview & prediction

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Rios vs. Alvarado Fight Preview & Picks

In what promises to be a high-impact 140-pound title eliminator, former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios takes on Mike Alvarado at the Home Depot Center in Carson. Each fighter has a lot in common. Both are undefeated, aggressive, and about the same size. Combined, they are 63-0-1 and the winner of this fight shoots right to the top of now-stacked 140-pound weight class.

Rios is looking to clear the wafting stink out of the air from his last fight–a dubious decision win over Richard Abril in April. Rios came in 2 pounds heavy and was forced to relinquish his lightweight belt. Why he was even fighting at 135 again with his documented weight struggles leading up to that is another matter. Alvarado, meanwhile, has been steadily plugging along, waiting for his big shot. While already a player at 140, a win here puts Alvarado right on the top shelf.

  • Date: October 13, 2012
  • Site: Home Depot Center, Carson, California
  • Weight Class: 140 pounds (12 Rounds)

Vital Stats

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Rios: The Oxnard-based Rios, who works with Robert Garcia, is 30-0-1 (22 KOs). Big for a lightweight at a robust 5’8,” he still has good size for a junior welterweight. Turning pro in 2004, the 26-year old Rios is an 8-year veteran. He stands 5’8” with a reach of 68 inches. In a well-decorated amateur career, he was the United States amateur champion and an Olympic alternate in 2004.

Alvarado: Six years older than Rios at 32, Alvarado has taken the long route to this point–posting a 33-0 (23 KOs) record over a career that spans more than 8 years. Only getting noticed nationally in the past few years, Alvarado has a big junior welterweight frame at a thick 5’9” with a 70-inch reach.

Quality of Opposition

Rios: Having participated at the world championship level as WBA Lightweight Champion from 2011-2012, Rios is battle-tested, despite not having yet fought a truly top guy. He beat the very tough Miguel Acosta in a lively scrap to annex the Venezuelan’s belt via 10th-round TKO. Rios then blew out contender Urbano Antillon suddenly in the third round of a compelling brawl, before defending against England’s gritty John Murray in another TKO win. Faced skillful Richard Abril in his last fight, winning a controversial decision. Before winning the belt, Rios also beat 30-0 Anthony Peterson

Alvarado: Fought a lot of lower-end journeymen on the way up, with several little nuggets along the way. In 2007, he won an 8-round nod over future top 154-pound contender “King” Carlos Molina. Later that year, he stopped 36-4 Michael Clark in round one. In 2008, he stopped 20-1 Michel Rosales in the 7th and hot-and-cold contender Miguel Angel Huerta in the 4th round. Alvarado then impressed on the undercard on a pair of major PPVs. On the Pacquiao-Mosley undercard, he torched 25-1 Ray Narh, who quit after 3 rounds. Then, in a sensational comeback, he TKO’d Breidis Prescott in the 10th round to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in stirring fashion. In his last outing, on the undercard of Rios-Abril, he won a hard-fought decision over tough contender Mauricio Herrera to go to 33-0.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Rios: Rios has an aggressive and hard-hitting style, punctuated by a genuine edge and meanness in the ring. He’s not in there to play around. At the same time, he has the skills and experience of a long amateur career and a successful run in the pros so that he doesn’t rely only on brawn. He goes to the body well and throws a lot of combinations while overwhelming most foes. He’s a highly entertaining fighter. Defense, however, remains an issue, as his macho style does not include many defensive nuances. This could become an issue as he now rises in weight and begins facing the cream of the 140-pound weight class, which is a hard-hitting group. Having never lost and with an abundance of boisterous self-esteem, he may suffer from being a bit over-confident.

Alvarado: Also aggressive, but more of a mauler. He’s just not as sharp as Rios, but a good work-rate, the ability to cut off the ring, and good punching power makes him a legit contender in this loaded weight class. Has a good left hook and can work the body. He can also be outboxed, as Prescott illustrated in their 2011 bout. Isn’t terribly fast and sometimes starts slowly.

Questions and Issues

Rios: Have the recent issues with weight sapped him? Should he have gone the Shane Mosley route and just leapfrogged 140 to fight at welterweight? Or will he be renewed at this weight, not having to shed the extra 5 pounds? Can he re-establish the good momentum he had going a year ago? Having never beaten a top fighter, is the jury still a bit out on Rios? Or is he ready to impress here and position himself for a big 2013?

Alvarado: Has he reached his highest level? Did he leave a little on the table during his extended development stage? Having stood up to some good fighters, will he find the swarming and fierce attack of Rios to be too much? Is he catching Rios at the wrong time, when “Bam Bam” is eager to redeem himself and score a big win?

Rios vs. Alvarado Prediction

It would be a surprise if this were anything but a rugged and entertaining fight. Both men are inherently entertaining and with the stakes high, the action should be plentiful. Look for macho head games and a lot of gamesmanship with some chippy moments of fighting. The ref might have a tough night.

I see a close fight for about 6-7 rounds. Alvarado is tough and will hang in there, but Rios is a little better, a little sharper, and should be a bit more energetic. Unless he has issues with weight or if a budding lack of professionalism starts to manifest, the consistency and crispness of the Rios attack will begin to see him get some separation as the fight progresses. Rios will win a unanimous decision.

Prediction: Brandon Rios wins a unanimous decision.

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One comment

  1. Nice write-up.

    I also think Rios will win, but barely — by split decision.

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