By Jake Donovan
How can they possibly top the first one?
That was the question asked of Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado from the moment they agreed to a rematch to their unforgettable clash last October. Each fighter had the other in trouble on several occasions before Rios took over to force a 7th round stoppage in his first official bout at the 140 lb. limit.
The move in weight came on the heels of back-to-back disasters at the scales, forcing Rios to relinquish his lightweight. The hard-fought stoppage win over Alvarado also helped in part to erase the bad memories of a controversial decision win over Richard Abril and an injury that prompted him to pull out of a summer clash that would have aired live on HBO.
For Alvarado, there was little to no fallout from his losing effort. The former wrestling standout showed amazing heart and will even up to the moment he was stopped on his feet, and insists a tweak or two will make the difference in this weekend’s rematch at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
That said, both fighters promise the same level of savage brutality as was the case five months ago.
Who will prevail? Read on to see how the staff at Boxingscene.com believes the action will go down.
PREDICTIONS – RIOS v. ALVARADO II
“Alvarado can slug it out with anyone but Rios. I believe Mike will fight much smarter than their first fight and box Rios from the outside. Alvarado by decision”
- Damien Acevedo (Alvarado)
“Rios TKO6 is my prediction. Rios seems to be even more confident than the first go around and the facial injuries suffered by Alvarado surely had to have impacted his training camp. I think Alvaarado boxes well early but gets lured into Rios game and stopped slightly sooner than the last go round.”
- Ryan Burton (Rios)
“The rematch will last as long or as short as Rios prefers. Alvarado is saying all the right things – planning to box, prepared to brawl – but possible that we’ve already seen his best. Not sure how far Rios goes at 140, but for now will have enough to prove to be Alvarado’s superior. Rios by KO in a less competitive sequel that doesn’t see the second half of the fight”
– Jake Donovan (Rios)
“Rios TKO 8. At some point they're going to go back to what made their first fight so exciting and my FOTY. That plays right into Rios' hands who lives for all out action. Alvarado will once again have his moments but in the end it will be too much Rios to overcome.”
– Ernest Gabion (Rios)
“Rios W12 – hard to think this one will live up to their first fight, but I believe it will. Only this time, we’ll get 12 rounds of it.”
- Thomas Gerbasi (Rios)
“Alvarado's key to survival and victory is his ability to box Rios throughtout the fight instead of fighting a dog fight. I expect Alvarado to find success early with boxing but Rios will eventually turn it in to a war late with Alvarado succumbing to his pressure in the championship round. Rios TKO11”
- Tim Kudgis (Rios)
“Brandon Rios TKO9 Mike Alvarado. I think we'll see Mike Alvarado try to box a little more, which will prolong the bout. But eventually, the fans will get what they paid to see--a no-holds brawl where Brandon Rios will again have just enough bullets in the chamber to outslug Alvarado, who isn't short on courage in his own right.”
- Ryan Maquiñana (Rios)
“Rios UD. I expect a close approximation of the first fight, with slightly more defense for the first 1 1/2 rounds. Then there will be banging and more banging and bruises and blood and brain rattling blow after brain rattling blow. Rios will likely be a little stronger. I'm banking on Alvarado being more aware of the expected onslaught and bringing a little more cover up defense to go with his solid boxer-banger abilities. I'm also banking on Rios to get through Alvarado's cover up enough to touch him and hurt him and bank rounds. 8-4 Rios.”
- Richard Najdowski (Rios)
“Rios' first fight with Alvarado was a thriller, and it's hard not to like Rios to prevail again. Rios admitted that for as much as he will try to box, that a war will likely break out. And that's just Rios' kind of fight. Rios TKO 8.”
- Chris Robinson (Rios)
“Rios KO Alvarado: It might happen faster this time, and for the same reasons present in the first. Rios is the more natural, fluid fighter. Both get hit too much, but Rios has that rare knack for being able to take two and give one until the count turns to his favor, wearing down other men through blunt force. He won't last forever that way, but while his prime endures he'll be a handful for anyone and too much for "Mile High" Mike.”
– Cliff Rold (Rios)
“Rios TKO8 - I expect Alvarado to try to execute the game plan they had before which was to box and not engage Rios as much. But much like the first time, eventually he'll have to stand and trade with Rios who is relentless in pressuring his opponent. Great action will ensue and Alvarado will last one more round than he did before in a great follow up to the Bradley-Provodnikov fight.”
- Luis Sandoval (Rios)
“Mighty Mike has been blasted out in the first meeting, but this one will be of different sort. Indeed, Rios showed superior power the first time out - he just won't be able to use it every here&now, and he will be forced to go the distance against quite a durable guy. The fight will be very much like their first encounter. Yet this time, Rios will be a bit more measured, the pace will be a bit more controlled, and action will be a bit less thrilling. It won't live up to the standards of Bradley vs. Provodnikov. Rios UD”
- Alexey Sukachev (Rios)
Total – Brandon Rios 11, Mike Alvarado 1
The rematch between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado takes place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The bout headlines a televised doubleheader live on HBO (Saturday, 10:15PM ET/PT). The co-feature pits unbeaten prospect Terence Crawford, who moves up from lightweight to accept a short notice assignment against perennial spoiler Breidis Prescott.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox