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Local boxer Alvarado reboots career, life
By Terry Frei
The Denver Post
Posted: 05/06/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 05/06/2010 01:49:11 AM MDT
Mike Alvarado, training this week, made the most of his discipline-driven time at the Buena Vista Corrections Complex. (Diego James Robles, The Denver Post )
In Buena Vista last year, undefeated professional boxer Mike Alvarado and the others in his "boot-camp" class were awakened at 6 in the morning.
"From the beginning of your day, you're running in place, you're doing drills, and everything's fast and quick and you have to be perfect," Alvarado recalled this week. "There's no messing up. That is not an option."
This boot camp isn't military-run. Officially known as the Colorado Corrections Alternative Program, it is a high-intensity, 90-day course at the state's Buena Vista Corrections Complex.
Alvarado's promising boxing career was on hold because the Thornton resident's probation involving traffic- and driving-oriented offenses and an earlier domestic violence charge was revoked last year, and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
He sought to move from jail in Adams County to the program in Buena Vista, which, if completed, often causes sentences to be shortened significantly. Alvarado graduated from the program Oct. 29 and was released from jail in Adams County in December.
"Oh, it was discipline, discipline, discipline," Alvarado said. "It was about respect, loyalty, integrity. They taught us so much about all of that, and you sit there and talk with everybody and go over what led you to the wrong path. You learn about yourself. You learn what routes not to go, what routes not to take.
"I wasn't totally living right, like I should have been. I was partying, I was drinking, I wasn't taking care of my body like I should have been. Training and partying doesn't mix. I wasn't grounding myself. I had to open my eyes."
Alvarado, a former two-time state wrestling champion from Thornton's Skyview High School, turns 30 on July 28. Yet he got into boxing at a relatively late age and hasn't taken a lot of punishment during a career that so far has seen him win all 27 of his pro fights and gain prominence in the 140-pound weight class, variously called both
Mike Alvarado, polishing his punches with his longtime trainer, Shann Vilhauer, at Delgado's Gym in Arvada this week, is the No. 5 title contender at 140 pounds in the latest WBA rankings. (Diego James Robles, The Denver Post )
the junior welterweight and super lightweight division.
Returning to the ring April 3 after an 11-month layoff, Alvarado beat the usually durable Lenin Arroyo on a second-round technical knockout in Corpus Christi, Texas.
"That was the best training camp we've ever had, and it showed at the fight," said Henry "Kiki" Delgado, Alvarado's manager. "It was like a man against a boy."
After the bout, Alvarado stood in the ring and told the national Fox Sports cable audience that he had fouled up but had both his life and career back on track. Now, he remains in serious daily training at Delgado's Gym in Arvada. As one of Top Rank Inc.'s featured fighters, he probably next will appear on a June 25 Fox Sports card in San Antonio, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said Wednesday.
Delgado, whose gym is a magnet for area fighters and martial arts competitors, said he hopes to get Alvarado several more fights this year, including "at least two" in Denver. The goal is to land Alvarado a shot at one of the handful of 140-pound titles. Devon Alexander (20-0) holds the WBC and IBF championships. Timothy Bradley (25-0) has the WBO title, and Amir Khan is the WBA champion. Rankings tend to be wildly inconsistent, but the latest WBA rankings list Alvarado as the No. 5 title contender, the WBC has him at No. 9, and the IBF and WBO don't list him at all.
Alvarado said his probation revocation and stall in his career was related to him leaving the state. It came after he went to Los Angeles in the spring of 2009 to spar with the sport's top star, Manny Pacquiao, and then left Colorado again to win a decision over Juaquin Gallardo on the Pac-quiao-Ricky Hatton undercard on May 2 last year at the MGM Grand.
After leaving jail, Alvarado was released to his grandmother's custody, and he trains early in the morning, then goes home to take care of his three daughters — Ariana, Ariyah and Miliani — while their mother attends school. Then he returns to the gym at 5 p.m. for more heavy work.
"I'm in the best shape ever," he said. "This is the healthiest I've ever been in my career."
Said Delgado: "Everything's been great since he's been out. He was drinking, so he would go out on the weekends, and now it's like business. I think the biggest thing is that he got in touch with God. You hear a lot about jailhouse religion. This wasn't jailhouse religion. He just had a lot of time to think."
Shann Vilhauer is Alvarado's friend and blunt-talking trainer.
"I was worried about the way he was living," Vilhauer said. "I was worried that if it got to the point where he had to dig down deep, where it was the life-or- death mentality you see in sports, if he could do that. I knew his mind and his will would want to, but I wasn't sure if his body would hold up. Now I have no worries at all. He's doing great."
Alvarado accepts the events of the past year with a smile.
"Things happen for a reason," he said. "I'm excited about what I have in front of me now."
Terry Frei: 303-954-1895 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Alvarado, 29, boxes at 140 pounds and has a 27-0 record with 19 knockouts. Here is a look at his background and career:
* Biological father, Ron Cisneros, was a prominent area Golden Gloves boxer and then a pro boxer in the 1980s. But Alvarado was raised by his adoptive father, Gabe Alvarado.
* Two-time state wrestling champion at Thornton's Skyview High School.
* Two-time state Golden Gloves champion.
* Pro debut: First-round knockout of Istafa Jihad on Feb. 28, 2004, in Thornton.
* Signature victories: March 7, 2009, 10th-round knockout of Emmanuel Clottey in Denver; July 26, 2008, fourth-round knockout of Cesar Bazan in Las Vegas.
* Trains at Delgado's Boxing and Martial Arts in Arvada.
Terry Frei, The Denver Post
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he is the dark horse at 140 IMO.
not a lot of talk but he has some serious tools and pop.
The Emmanuel Clottey KO was crazy,
Alvarado can do a lot a damage a 140.
Looking foward to his next fight.
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I've only seen a couple of his fights, he's got some nice skills..... should be intresting to see if he can make any noise in that divsion (which is real deep)
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