By Chris Robinson
On Wednesday afternoon Top Rank CEO Bob Arum could be found inside of the Fortune Gym in Hollywood, California, playing host to an open media workout for this weekend’s HBO-televised double header at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
The card will be highlighted by IBF/WBO junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire facing off with dangerous southpaw and former titleholder Toshiaki Nishioka while a mouthwatering junior welterweight duel will see former WBA lightweight kingpin Brandon Rios rise in weight to face off with the formidable Mike Alvarado of Denver, Colorado.
Rios vs. Alvarado is a throwback type of fight, featuring two blood and guts fighters who will be looking to give no quarter in a clash that could serve as one of the year’s finest.
Always looking towards the future, Arum admits that he could see a scenario where the winner of Rios-Alvarado goes forward with a huge showdown against eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, who himself is getting ready for a fourth encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8th.
“Yes, or a shot at Marquez,” Arum would affirm when I posed the question to him. “Whoever wins the fight.”
Asked what qualities either Rios or Alvarado have that would make them competitive against Pacquiao, one of this generation’s true greats, Arum pointed towards the kind of suspense that would surely be created in such a showdown.
“I’m not sure, but all I know, it will be a hell of a fight,” Arum stated. “People want action and people are going to get action in Alvarado and Rios. And Manny against either guy is going to be all-action. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Rios has yet to taste defeat, as he currently holds a 30-0-1 record with 22 knockouts, yet some feel he may be biting off a little more than he can chew in his first fight at 140 pounds by locking horns with the bruising Alvarado.
Arum pointed out that while there were parties close to Rios who had concerns about the contest, it was the 26-year old former champion who seemed to plead for the match.
“Rios insisted on the fight,” Arum claimed.