By Rick Reeno
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas - Mike Alvarado (34-1, 23KOs) got revenge, in another Fight of The Year war, with a twelve round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Brandon Rios (31-1-1, 23KOs) to capture the vacant WBO interim-junior welterweight title. The scores were 115-113, 115-113 and 114-113. In their 2011 'Fight of The Year' contender, Rios stopped Alvarado in the seventh round.
Alvardo started the fight with movement while trying to work a jab, but it didn't take long before he and Rios started trading vicious punches. Alvarado was stunned bad in the second round, but managed to dig deep and fought Rios toe to toe to the bell. During the third, it was Rios who got stunned from a hard shot to the jaw and took a decent amount of punishment as Alvarado tried to finish him.
Rios controlled the fourth with the better punches, with Alvarado finding his fair share of success. Rios still had the edge in the fifth with the better punches finding their mark. The better part of the sixth was controlled by Rios on the inside. Alvarado finshed well in the closing seconds with some well placed punches. In the seventh, Alvarado boxed, picked his punches and did well to avoid many of Rios' counters. However, Alvarado's face was falling apart and swelling very bad.
The eight round was a war and Alvarado was doing most of the damage. Rios' chin was tested to the max as he took huge punches that woud have knocked out a lot of other fighters. The ninth was close and coud have went either way. Rios came forward doing most of the work and Alvardo did the most damage in the final thirty seconds. The tenth was also close and Alvarado may have once again stolen it with a few flush shots in the final minute.
Rios certainly took the eleventh, with Alvardo mostly staying away and possibly taking a breather. And the breather worked because Alvarado used his legs, and put together some well timed shots to close the fight out in the twelfth.