Mike Alvarado is ready, willing and eager to fight Brandon Rios for the third time.
"Brandon gave me a shot to redeem myself," Alvarado said after their highly entertaining and excellent fight in Las Vegas on Saturday night. "I'll give him a shot for the trilogy."
Alvarado boxed his way to a narrow but unanimous decision to take the WBO interim light-welterweight title and reverse the outcome of their slugfest five months ago.
The punch statistics were almost as close as the scoring. Alvarado was credited with landing 261 punches to 241 for Rios. The scores were 115-113 on two cards and 114-113.
Alvarado won three of the last four rounds on two scorecards and all four on a third to pull out the fight, avenging his seventh-round loss in October.
The return match was not as dramatic as the first, in which Rios stopped Alvarado after being rocked himself a round earlier. But the fight was still thrilling at times, fought at a high level.
It also occasionally brutal, as evidenced by the cut on Alvarado's forehead and his swollen face. He was taken to a hospital for a precautionary brain scan after the fight. Rios also was taken to the hospital.
Alvarado was again more than willing to trade punches with Rios, but began boxing more in the middle rounds, a change in strategy that may have won him the fight. Rios expended a lot of energy chasing him, and was unable to land as many big punches as in the first fight.
"I won the first fight, now they want to make the third one," Rios said. "Let's make the third one."
Promoter Bob Arum wants a third fight, but said he would look elsewhere for both fighters for their next fights.
"Are these guys going to fight again?" Arum asked. "Of course they will. But it doesn't necessarily have to be next. They can fight other guys and then come back and do a third fight."