By Chris Robinson
This weekend’s rematch between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado is simply the kind of fight that doesn’t need any further hype or special kind of explanation.
Facing off later tonight inside of the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas in an HBO-televised attraction, Rios and Alvarado will look to again thrill the masses just as they did this past October.
Meeting in the squared circle for the first time inside of the Home Depot Center in Carson, California five months back, Rios and Alvarado hacked away at each other round after round in breathtaking fashion.
In the sixth round, Rios appeared to hurt Alvarado for the first time and it was one frame later where he finished him off along the ropes, as referee Pat Russell jumped in to save the Denver, Colorado native from any further punishment.
Speaking with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum about the rematch, he admitted that these kind of fights are the foundation for which his company was built upon, also referencing the full-throttle action between Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov two weekends back.
“That’s correct,” said Arum. “We had, two weeks ago with Bradley and Provodnikov, we had a hell of a fight. And this may even be a better fight. The last fight was just incredible. That’s what people want to see; good, hard-fought, competitive fights.”
Rios' ascension to becoming one of boxing’s most attractive stars has been memorable given his all-action style and exuberant personality, yet Arum remembers a time when the 26-year old was far less focused.
“Well, he will agree that in the beginning, he was a bit of a goof-off and he didn’t train hard,” said Arum of Rios. “But once he got going, and I think once he got married and started having children, his whole persona changed. And we knew he had the talent, and now he’s a dedicated warrior.”
As for Bradley, his war with Provodnikov quickly endeared him to the boxing public, yet there where whispers that he and his foe may have left something in the ring that night due to the brutality of their match.
“I think he’s young enough that he can recover,” Arum would counter. “He shouldn’t go back into action too early. But other than that, I don’t think it will affect him at all.”
It’s not a secret that Arum has a vested interest in matching another one of his star fighters, Manny Pacquiao, up with his rival Juan Manuel Marquez for a fifth meeting this September.
Arum understands that such a scenario may not present itself given Marquez’s demands and he seems to have some other options in mind.
“That’s our number-one priority,” Arum would admit. “But if that isn’t possible, then he can fight Bradley again or the winner of Rios-Alvarado. My first priority is to get Manny settled and into a fight in September.”
Pacquiao was dealt a crushing blow this past December when Marquez laid him out in chilling fashion after connecting with a counter right hand in the sixth round.
Arum was asked what went through his mind after seeing his star fighter knocked out in such brutal fashion.
“It doesn’t make me very happy,” Arum stated. “But I’ve been in this business for many, many years and I’ve seen fighters get knocked out as decisively as Pacquiao and come back stronger than ever.
“One thing about boxing, if a guy gets knocked out after taking a beating, then it has an effect on him,” Arum continued. “If a guy gets knocked out as a result of one punch, it doesn’t have that much of an effect.”