How often does a fight often, and let’s be honest with ourselves here, live up to the hype? The hype machines at companies like Top Rank and Golden Boy have become quite skilled at polishing a turd, selling lackluster fights to fans as if this showdown between two mediocre fighters is the end all and be all in the history of boxing. And then there’s the fights that we ourselves as fans don’t need million dollar PR campaigns and HBO specials to get excited for. Mike Alvarado versus Brandon Rios was just that type of fight.
Alvarado and Rios might not necessarily be the two biggest names in the game. Some could argue Rios may even be better known for his mocking of Freddie Roach’s illness or his trouble making weight than any major accomplishment in the ring. Mike Alvarado is even lesser known, a dude who at 32 and with one 5 month prison sentence to his name, only had 33 professional fights under his belt heading into the matchup with Rios. But the thing about the fight game is you can try and sell who you want as a big star but at the end of the day it’s the fans who decide who they want to see and who they’ll support. It’s why Alvarado and Rios became one of the most anticipated fights of the year upon its announcement.
Alvarado and Rios are both blood and guts style fighters. The type of cats that make you think of old school warriors like Bobby Chacon, Bazooka Limon, Danny Lopez, Arturo Gatti, Micky Ward, etc. Maybe not the most acclaimed technically but the type the working man can relate too. 110% each and every day, surrender a word utterly forbidden in their collective vocabularies. When that bell rang last night that’s exactly what we saw. One of those classic, fight in a phone booth wars. It’s too soon to say where the fight truly ranks in all time bouts, and we’re not going to jump to a decision on it right now. Repeated viewings in the coming weeks amongst boxing fans around the globe will decide its place. Fight of the Year certainly doesn’t seem like a bad bet at this point.
Sure pain and punishment were dealt out by both fighters in equal measure. But, with proper refereeing, bodies heal. Fighters come back. There was no loser in Rios/Alvarado. Both fighters entered an exclusive group of fighters after last nights performance. Greater fan fare and paydays beckon for both. Most enticingly a second meeting doesn’t look too far off in the distance.