By Keith Idec
The two boxers certain to challenge the Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov slugfest for “Fight of the Year” honors really appreciated their memorable brawl Saturday night.
“I was watching the fight at home,” said Brandon Rios, who’ll meet Mike Alvarado in a highly anticipated junior welterweight rematch March 30 in Las Vegas. “I was almost jumping on the TV watching that fight. It brought back memories. I was like, ‘Damn! They are showing their warrior spirit. They were going at it. Like they said, Bradley came out with a different game plan and he proved that he’s a warrior and a fighter.”
Bradley beat Provodnikov by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for Bradley’s WBO welterweight title, despite that Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) dropped Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) in the 12th round and hurt him in the first, second and sixth rounds. Bradley, of Indio, Calif., still out-pointed Russia’s Provodnikov on all three scorecards (115-112, 114-113, 114-113).
“I thought Bradley got a good opportunity to prove himself, show that heart,” Alvarado said. “ He was knocked out on his feet pretty much.”
Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., technically knocked out Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs), of Thornton, Colo., in the seventh round of their first fight Oct. 13 in Carson, Calif. Their all-action battle was a “Fight of the Year” candidate for 2012 and created demand for an immediate rematch.
“Road To Rios/Alvarado II,” a 15-minute preview of their rematch, will air again Sunday night on HBO, immediately following a replay of the Bradley-Provodnikov fight at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.