By Rick Reeno
Home Depot Center, Los Angeles, California - Brandon Rios (31-0-1, 22KOs) made his junior welterweight debut with a Fight of The Year battle, stopping previously undefeated Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23KOs) in the seventh round.
The first round alone lived up to the hype. Both boxers were exchanging very hard punches. Rios got the edge in connections and Alvardo's face was starting to swell. The second round was more of the same, as they stood on the inside for most of the three minutes and traded very hard shots. Rios was still outworking Alvarado a bit, but not by much and the action was close. The third round saw Alvardo start measuring Rios with the jab and landing hard shots in their continued war of power shots. Rios was coming back near the end of the round, and Alvarado's face was getting worse. The left side of his face was starting to swell up bad.
Alvarado continued to box smart in the fourth to set up his punches. He was jabbing and tried to keep Rios in position, but Rios continued to come foward throwing punches. In the final twenty seconds, Alvardo unloaded with numerous hard shots to knock Rios' head back. In the fifth, Alvarado continued to measure Rios with very hard shots and he appeared to be taking over the fight - but then Rios went for broke and stood his ground to trade hard punches for nearly the entire final minute as the entire crowd was on their feet. The sixth was mostly controlled by Alvarado, who worked his jab and landed the better shots on the inside. Rios came on strong at the end as they traded punches until the bell. Rios' face was starting to swell up and his right eye was bruised.
In the seventh, they continued to trade punches at close range. Alvarado was stunned by a hard right hand shot and then Rios pinned him close against the ropes and started to unload with both hands. Alvarado was not punching back and the referee jumped in to stop the fight. Not everyone agreed with the stoppage at ringside.