By Jake Donovan
Mike Alvarado won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by telling them that his career is on pace from the goals set out when he first turned pro. Eight years and 33 fights into his career, the Colorado-based contender is just now hitting his stride.
The biggest fight of his career awaits as all eyes are on his October 13 showdown with fellow unbeaten contender Brandon Rios. Their HBO-televised co-feature bout at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. has many boxing pundits predicting an instant Fight of the Year candidate.
Still, it wasn’t until late last year when Alvarado (33-0, 23KO) even got a whiff of big time boxing. A come-from-behind last second stoppage win over Breidis Prescott last November was followed by a 10-round thriller with Mauricio Herrera earlier this year.
A significant cause of the delay in his career progress was due to two separate prison stints just as he was preparing to enter his fighting prime. The extended pauses cost him a shot at then ex-champion Paul Malignaggi, among other opportunities.
Just as Alvarado isn’t one to pull the wool over the eyes of his fans and supporters, he’s also not the type to dwell on the past. Whatever happened is in the rearview mirror, as all eyes are on what’s directly in front of him.
“It’s been a long road. I’m happy where I am now, though,” Alvarado insists in the short time ahead of his scheduled 12-round dance with Rios. “I’m ready for it. I’m thankful and blessed. I’m at that next level. This is what it’s all about. Being away from my family and putting in all of that hard work to make this fight a great performance. I can’t wait for October 13.”
The winner is believed to get a shot at an alphabet title or two sometime in 2013, or so the sanctioning would suggest. At 32 years of age, there appears to be no time like the present for Alvarado, though he believes the timing of the fight is due to reasons beyond the number of candles on his next birthday cake.
“[It’s n]ot because of my age,” Alvarado states, when responding to the question of why now for the Rios fight. “I just know I’m at that level now. It has nothing to do with my age. I’m just ready to perform.”
Alvarado has been ready to perform all year, but instead has been forced to endure what will be a six-month layoff come fight night. It’s hardly the longest layoff in his career, having fought just once in a span of 18 months between May ’09 and Nov. ’10.
That said, the situation is not ideal. He had just grown accustomed to staying busy, as evidenced by his six fights within 17 months before going idle following the Herrera bout. What he lacks in recent activity, has been compensated by extra gym preparation.
“I know it’s only my second fight of the year but (the time off) is worth it,” Alvarado believes. “I’m not rusty, I’m just ready for it. It would have been nice to have another fight between then and now. But it is what it is. I’m not going to stress over it, I’m just going to do what I have to do.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox