Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rios Has Reaffirmed His Status As A Player In The Welterweight Division

One of the most interesting topics in the sport of Boxing is whenever a discussion takes place concerning some of the greatest series of fights that have taken place in the sport. What sometimes is not talked about often is the physical toll that a series of fights can have on fighters.

A question that I had prior to the much-anticipated third meeting between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado was how much did either fighter have left? After all, both Rios and Alvarado have crowd pleasing styles and have always given their best whenever they enter the ring. Two fighters who are more than willing to go toe to toe.

The first two encounters between Rios and Alvarado provided much action and left both Boxing fans and experts alike wanting more. Rios scoring a come from behind stoppage of Alvarado in their first meeting in 2012, which some feel was a controversial stoppage. Alvarado would get the nod in the second battle in 2013 winning a close twelve round unanimous decision in a fight that much like the first was full of fireworks.

After their second encounter, there would not be an immediate third battle to close the chapter of Rios versus Alvarado. Instead, both fighters would face other opposition before turning their attention toward each other. Alvarado, who won interim status in the WBO’s Jr. Welterweight ratings with his victory over Rios in the second fight would be elevated to the status of champion.

 Alvarado’s reign however, would not be long as he would lose the WBO Jr. Welterweight world championship in his first title defense against top contender Ruslan Provodnikov in ten rounds in October 2013. Alvarado would suffer another setback when he lost a twelve round unanimous decision to former multi-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez in May of last year.

Rios meanwhile would move up in weight to the Welterweight division and gave a “Game” effort in losing a hard fought twelve round unanimous decision to Manny Pacquiao in November 2013. After the loss to Pacquiao, Rios remained in the Welterweight division and earned a disqualification victory over top contender Diego Chaves in August of last year in what was a foul filled contest.

This would lead to Rios and Alvarado renewing their rivalry when they met to complete their trilogy on January 24th at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. Unlike the first two encounters between the two however, there would be no drama. Rios battered Alvarado for three rounds, scoring a knockdown of his opponent in round three before the fight was stopped after the third round.

Although the rubber match between Rios and Alvarado simply did not live up to the anticipation that preceded it, Rios’ performance in the fight was very impressive and has reaffirmed his status as a player in the 147lb. Welterweight division. From the opening bell Rios implemented an almost relentless attack to the body and head of Alvarado and simply did not allow Alvarado any time to slow the pace as Rios out landed Alvarado 120/290 to Alvarado’s 20/87 total punches thrown.

Despite the fact that the third fight between these two men did not last as long as their previous two encounters, Rios’ performance should keep him in the discussion of potential lucrative bouts in the Welterweight division. As far as what may be in store for Rios in terms of the immediate future, with much of the division waiting to see whether or not the much-anticipated potential clash between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, the Welterweight division’s two most prominent figures will finally take place, it leaves a question mark on what may happen in regard to the rest of the division whether Mayweather-Pacquiao takes place or not.

In this observer’s opinion, I believe that potential fights between Rios and the likes of Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Sadam Ali, and Marcos Maidana could all be interesting options and would likely be welcomed by Boxing fans. If Rios faces either of these men in the near future a victory over either would likely catapult him into a potential shot at a Welterweight world championship.

Although Brandon Rios has been through his share of wars in his thirty-six fight professional career, at twenty-eight years of age it is clear that he is not done competing at the elite level of the sport and Rios has more fight left in him. There may be some however, who are likely wondering whether or not the same can be said for Mike Alvarado.

It is certainly difficult to argue against the opinion that coming out of this trilogy it appears that Mike Alvarado is the one who has had more taken out of him than has Rios. At thirty-four years of age and having lost four of his last five bouts one may indeed question whether or not this latest loss to Rios will signal the end of Mike Alvarado’s career as a fighter.

Even though it is unclear as to what the future may hold for Mike Alvarado, it is important to remember the physical toll that a fighter goes through not only in regard to the fights that he’s fought, but also the preparation a fighter goes through prior to a fight. Although Alvarado himself stated after the third fight with Rios that he was not prepared as he should have been, Alvarado has engaged in several memorable battles in recent years inside the ring and it is quite possible that the accumulative effect of those fights have taken a toll on him.

Whether or not Mike Alvarado will continue his career is a question that only he can answer. I do believe however, that if Alvarado allows himself time to allow his body to recover from the wars that he has been through over the last couple of years, it may be beneficial in terms of extending his career. Sometimes all a fighter needs is time to regroup. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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