By Jake Donovan
Brandon Rios resurrected his career while putting the proverbial nail in the coffin for Mike Alvarado, stopping his longtime friendly rival after three rounds of one-sided action in their January 24 rubber match at 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado.
While the bout was an anti-climactic conclusion to their trilogy, the interest generated in their series was well reflected in the ratings. The welterweight clash averaged a healthy 1.252 million viewers in serving as the headliner for HBO’s 2015 boxing season.
The bout peaked at 1.316 million viewers, a strong number for a
Boxing After Dark
telecast and for a non-title fight not boasting any real future title fight implications at stake.
It also ranks as the highest-rated event of their three-fight set.
The first fight—by far the best of the series, with Rios stopping Alvarado in the 7th round of their Oct. '12 war—averaged 816,000 viewers while serving as the co-feature to Nonito Donaire's vacant World lineal 122 lb. championship win over Toshiaki Nishioka. The rematch headlined a pre-Easter telecast in March '13, with an average 1.182 million viewers tuning in to watch Alvarado avenge his first career loss, decisioning Rios over 12 rounds and snatching his rival's "0" in the process.
Both fighters fell on hard times since their rematch nearly two years ago. Rios went on to face a then-comebacking Manny Pacquiao, suffering a near-shutout loss in their Nov. '13 clash and then testing positive for a banned substance. His lone bout of 2014 was an ugly, foul-filled 9th round disqualification win over Diego Chaves, with Rios admitting he was not in the best physical or mental condition heading into their Vegas clash last August.
Conditioning was not at all an issue for his third fight with Alvarado, as Rios showed up in tip-top shape, and proceeding to pound out a vicious beating over his ring rival.
The exact opposite held true for Alvarado, who was arrested three weeks prior to the bout and bore the look of a fighter who was there simply for a paycheck. Following three rounds of punishment, Alvarado complained of blurred vision, opting to quit on his stool.
The loss is Alvarado's third straight, and second stoppage loss in his hometown. A similar fate was suffered in his previous homecoming, when Ruslan Provodnikov dropped him twice and forced him to wilt after ten rounds in their Oct. '13 clash in this very venue.
Wedged in between the stoppage losses, Alvarado also dropped a 12-round decision to Juan Manuel Marquez last May.
The disappointing conclusion to an otherwise memorable trilogy was a buzzkill for the crowd on hand. For HBO, the ratings pull was a terrific reversal of fortunes, with a show held at this same time last year struggling in the ratings.
Mikey Garcia scored a lethargic 12-round decision over Juan Carlos Burgos on this exact weekend in 2014. The bout averaged just 829,000 viewers despite headlining in New York City and marketed in conjunction with Super Bowl XLVIII coverage, which took place at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It also boasted a strong co-feature, with Bryant Jennings scoring a 10th round stoppage of Artur Szpilka in a battle of unbeaten heavyweights.
Rios-Alvarado III carried this promotion, with its co-feature offering a glimpse into the future. Unbeaten Gilberto Ramirez managed a 10-round win over Maxim Vlasov. Like the main event, their bout failed to live up to the pre-fight anticipation, but still scored well with fans at home. An average audience of 816,00 viewers tuned in, hitting a peak of 946,000 viewers.
The bout marked Ramirez' first appearance on HBO's flagship station, having previously fought on HBO Latino just two months ago. Vlasov had never previously appeared on HBO or any of its affiliate networks.
All data provided by
Nielsen Media Research
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox