By Jake Donovan
Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios collide for the third time, with each owning a win over the other. The pair of former titlists meet Saturday evening at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado, airing live on HBO.
Alvarado tipped the scales at 146.5 lb. for his second fight near his Thornton (CO) hometown in roughly 15 months; Rios weighed 146.75 lb.
The friendly rivals are both in desperate need of a meaningful win, even with their fan-friendly styles always making for good theatre.
Alvarado (34-3, 23KOs) hasn't won since exacting revenge on Rios in their March '13 battle. Two straight losses have followed, suffering a 10th round stoppage against Ruslan Provodnikov in this very venue in Oct. '13 and then dropping a decision to Juan Manuel Marquez last May in Los Angeles, California.
Rios won the first fight of the trilogy, scoring a 7th round stoppage in their Oct. '12 thriller. The former lightweight titlist went on to lose his next two starts, dropping decisions to Alvarado in their rematch and then a landslide defeat at the hands of a then-comebacking Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China.
The loss to Pacquiao was double the damage, having also tested positive for a banned substance in post-fight drug testing. He has since returned to the win column, albeit in an ugly 9th round disqualification over Argentina's Diego Chaves.
In the televised co-feature, unbeaten super middleweight contender Gilberto Ramirez faces his toughest test to date (on paper), as he squares off with Maxim Vlasov in a scheduled 10-round bout.
Ramirez weighed 170.5 lb., slightly heavier than Vlasov, who checked in at 170 lb.
Both fight for the first time on HBO's flagship station. Ramirez (30-0, 24KOs) appeared on HBO Latino in his most recent bout, an 8th round stoppage of Fulgencio Zuniga last November.
Mike Alvarado, 146.5 lb. vs. Brandon Rios, 146.75 lb. - 12 rounds, welterweight
Gilberto Ramirez, 170.5 lb. vs. Maxim Vlasov, 170 lb. - 10 rounds, super middleweight
David Escamilla vs. Marcello Gallardo - 6 rounds, featherweight
Aik Shakhnazaryan, 141.5 lb. vs. Abner Lopez, 141 lb. - 8 rounds, super lightweight
Konstantin Ponomarev, 147.5 lb. vs. Steve Claggett, 147.5 lb. - 8 rounds, super welterweight
Oleksandr Gvozdyk, 175 lb. vs. Corey Cummings, 174 lb. - 8 rounds, light heavyweight
Jeremy Ramos, 151 lb. vs. Rene Marquez, 150 lb. - 4 rounds, super welterweight
Zsolt Daranyi, 152 lb. vs. Luis Marquez, 151 lb. - 4 rounds, super welterweight
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