weekend at the Mandalay Bay was supposed to serve as a prelude to a
highly anticipated promotion with future Hall-of-Famer Juan Manuel
Marquez at Cowboys Stadium on July 14th. As Saturday night
unfolded, we found the guy to face him- only it wasn’t who Top Rank had
planned on. As Brandon Rios struggled mightily against Richie Abril,
fortunate to come away with a split decision victory, it was Mike
Alvarado who put himself at the forefront to face Marquez in the summer
with his scintillating, ten-round victory over the game Mauricio
yourself this quick question: after what ensued this past weekend, who
do you want facing Marquez; Alvarado, Rios or Mercito Gesta?
Yeah, “Mile High” all the way.
definitely; I put on a show,” said Alvarado, who can be excused for his
biased opinion after the effort he put forth. “I came and stole the
show; that’s what I do. I put on a strong, good, exciting performance
every time I get in that ring. So I’m ready; this is my time. Let’s do
the first six rounds of their contest, Alvarado and Herrera battled
back and forth. Alvarado, as big and as strong as any 140-pounder in the
world, pressed the attack and backed up Herrera, who countered
effectively with quick flurries, never capitulating. He bent but he
never broke, although Alvarado’s constant pressure and activity was
simply too much down the stretch. Alvarado won by the scores of 99-91,
97-93 and 96-94 in a fight that had the partisans on their feet for much
of the last few rounds. In defeat, Herrera earned a measure of respect
and his stock certainly rose. Alvarado stamped himself as a handful for
any junior welterweight in the world.
was a good fight; [Herrera] made it a little awkward for me but that’s
the way fights go. Once you get in that ring, fights are made of of
styles and adjustments,” he said later on that evening. “I was making a
few adjustments and he was just a real awkward fighter but I did what I
had to do.”
manager, Henry Delgado, said, “I thought Mike would take him out in the
seventh or eighth round but I think when you get into survival mode,
it’s harder to take somebody out. There was a few times he opened up a
little bit but it was just ‘leave me alone’ punches and he just tried to
survive the last half of the fight.” Ask Delgado and he swears his
fighter is the baddest dog in the junkyard. “Michael’s a throwback
fighter; he could’ve gone 15 rounds. You could see he was having fun in
there, moving around, boxing. What I liked about it is he didn’t press
the action. If the knockout came, then it came and he wasn’t going there
all wild, trying to take this guy out. We wanted the knockout but we
were satisfied with the win. It just gave us some extra rounds to work
There is a firm belief in this camp that nobody but nobody can dig deeper than Alvarado.
isn’t anyone out there that can overcome my will. That’s just something
I was blessed with since I was a kid. My work ethic and my heart, this
where I’m meant to be. My will is just outstanding,” said Alvarado, once
a high-school wrestler who didn’t put on a pair of Everlasts till he
was 20 years old. With that, he states, “I’m a young 31, definitely. I’m
still learning; I’m still fresh in the game. So I have a lot to grow
from and I’m still learning in this ring. I’m still picking up a lot and
it’s good. It’s a blessing for me and it’s just using what God blessed
Looking ahead, it was made clear to them to be ready on July 14th.
At the very least, it looks like Alvarado will be getting a crack at a
junior welterweight belt. But it’s the headline spot they want opposite
[Arum] knows that,” said Delgado, “and I think it’s us that’s going to
get it; I really do. He told us just keep doing what we’re doing. We’re
going to fight in Dallas on the 14th. The decision hasn’t been made yet.”
If the paying public had a vote, there’s no question that, after Saturday night, it’s Alvarado who would get the assignment.
back and just observing the fight, if I’m in the stands and watching
these two fights, I would rather see Mike Alvarado in there than ‘Bam
Bam’ versus Marquez. It would be a better fight for me as a fan,” said
Delgado, who probably echoes the thoughts of many others. Honestly, if
you’re Marquez, you’d probably want to face Rios rather than Alvarado,
an unproven commodity at junior welterweight and naturally smaller than
the Denver native. But Alvarado’s hard-charging style is a perfect
complement to the counterpunching mastery of Marquez, who won a rather
desultory 12-round verdict against Sergey Fedchenko in Mexico City.
sharpen it up; we’ll tighten it up. We’ll be ready,” said Alvarado, who
is now 33-0 with 23 knockouts to his credit. “We’ll still be the same
Mike Alvarado I’ve always been but yeah, we’ll have a different camp for
that. That’s another level and we’ll be ready for it.”
now, it’s the fight Alvarado and the fans want. A fresh, new match-up
pitting the old master against the hungry young lion.
Marquez, I’m the bigger, longer, younger fighter and I’m still
learning,” he said with the confidence of a prizefighter who feels he’s
just hitting his apex. “So I’d get in there and make huge adjustments
and my strength is just unbelievable. That will overcome a lot in that
fight, so just adjust accordingly and we’ll just stick to what we do.”
the opposite end of the spectrum was Brandon Rios, who was fortunate to
have walked away with a victory against Richie Abril. Once again, he
had problems at the scales (coming into this scheduled WBA interim
lightweight title contest at 137 pounds) and struggling all night long
with Abril, who neutralized much of Rios’s vaunted inside attack by
never squaring up and constantly grappling with him when Rios got close.
wasn’t one of my best performances,” Rios admitted while sitting in a
chair in the Mandalay Bay press room, surrounded by a group of reporters
looking for answers. “Abril, he didn’t want to fight; it showed. He was
holding me; he just didn’t want to fight. I didn’t know what happened
but it is what it is. Life goes on.” When asked if he felt he deserved
the nod (the fight was scored 116-112, 115-113 and 111-117), he
answered, “Yes, of course I won. Why not? How you gonna win a fight just
holding? You can’t win a fight just holding” (Well, of course, some
nowadays consider this “skill” but if you have a referee like Vic
Drakulich so unwilling to do anything about it, well, why would a
fighter not do it?).
tone, hushed and tired sounding, was soon defiant and annoyed as he
addressed his inability to make weight. It’s become a common as
occurrence as him dropping expletives in an interview, having come in
heavy three times in his last five outings. What peeved Rios are the
insinuations that he didn’t even try to lose the excess poundage. “All
the critics can say what they want to say. Y’ know what? It wasn’t my
best performance because I did try to make 135. I did try to f**kin’
kill myself to make 135 because I heard it before [Yuriorkis] Gamboa and
I wanted my title back. But y’ know what? It’s not like I did not try. I
did f**kin’ try and there’s all these critics over here talking sh*t
about me, saying stuff about me- half of these mother**kers are fat and
heavy and they don’t even do it for their health. I’m doing it because I
try to win my title back. And yeah, I did lose money. It’s f**ked up.
It is what it is. But y’ know what? It happens. I did try. It’s not like
I didn’t try. That’s why I’m going to 140.”
It has to be pointed out; most of us scribes aren’t going to make the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine anytime soon but then, that isn’t a prerequisite to get a
credential on press row. Making a weight that he signed up for is a part
of his obligation. And failure to do so cost Rios $45,000 of his purse
this weekend, thus ineligible for the “Todd duBoef Bonus” of 50-grand,
which was to have gone to the winner of this bout (Abril was still
eligible for that bounty).
The ugly affair with Abril only added insult to injury.
was very hard to make 135. After ’37, it just didn’t want to go down,”
explained Rios. “I tried; I trained. I sweated; I sweat my f**kin’ ass
off. I sh*t; I piss; I did everything I had to do and it just didn’t
come down,” Rios pleaded angrily.
manager, Cameron Dunkin, told Maxboxing, “He’s going to have to watch
his weight, taking care of himself. He learned a lot tonight and I
thought it was a very close fight but it just depends what you like,
holding or fighting, and if they would’ve taken two points away from
Abril- like they should have- he would’ve been forced to fight and it
would’ve been a different fight or he would’ve gotten disqualified.”
As for the weight snafu, Dunkin put the onus on himself.
“It was a huge mistake. I blame myself for pushing hm. I pushed him really hard to do it and I shouldn’t have.”
This email I received on Sunday morning was pretty much in line with my thoughts on what took place this weekend:
I liked the undercard bouts, but jeez the main events were boring.
No Bam-Bam. Just Bam... Bam... bam... kinda sorta. the hollowed out
husk of Rios that made it into the ring wasn’t anything like Rios.
what a horrible job of mismanagement by his team making this fight at 135. he was a dead man walking.
Rios’ team is so screwed up they can’t even get their story straight.
up til yesterday they were on weight and don’t have any idea what
happened, then Robert Garcia is interviewed and says everyone knew he
wouldn’t make weight.
whatever happened, he was a drawn, gaunt stick man and it’s obvious
he’s physically incapable of making 135 ever again. his entire team and
the Top Rank people all need to accept that. he’s a 140 pounder, period.
i know people will squawk for a few days about the decision, but let’s
face it, Rios was beat on the scales and Abril is just awful in terms of
style. I like boxers who have craft, but he’s just a spoiler who looks
to make the other guy not win.
doesn’t make the decision right, just saying if I never see Abril again I’d be happy about it.
Marquez-Fedchenko just about put me to sleep. i left it recording in
case the reports this morning said something interesting happened and we
watched Modern Family re-runs. seriously.
and since I only do HD, that cost me $59.95. ouch. guess i can tell
myself it’s a bargain compared to the $75 I’d have to pay for
as always, thanks for your correspondence. I think you bring some
sanity to this discussion. I had Abril up 115-113 but don’t count me
among the outraged masses over this decision. I have no problems
admitting I hate clutchers and spoilers, don’t think they should be
rewarded and, in fact, (as I pointed out after the James Kirkland-Carlos
Molina fight) should be penalized swiftly in the name of having
According to Dunkin, it looks like Leo Santa Cruz will face Vusi Malinga on June 23rd at the Staples Center as part of the Showtime telecast featuring the
rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto and Lucas Matthysse vs.
Humberto Soto. That’s a very nice looking triple-header...Saw Chris
Arreola at the Mandalay Bay sports book late on Saturday night (he was
actually in town with his wife for a wedding) and he says he might be on
that June 2nd Showtime quadruple-header from the Home Depot
Center...Just my opinion but Mercito Gesta needs to be stepped up. It
seems like he can’t get up mentally for the level of fights he’s been
getting from Top Rank and those guys don’t seem to challenge him too
much during the fights...I know trainer Robert Garcia runs a loose ship
and perhaps Rios likes it that way but honestly, just being around that
whole crew (which is expanding every fight), I think they need to
tighten things up. Just seemed like a bit too much fun and games...So
the Red Sox aren’t dead after all? Too bad my Padres
are...@DelTacoBarstow follows me on Twitter. My life is
complete...Mandalay Bay is still my favorite hotel in Las Vegas...The
Lakers are a bit more than Kobe Bryant, obviously...