Saturday night’s announced crowd of 7,665 at Top Rank’s Carson, CA
HBO boxing After Dark card got their money’s worth and then some. In a
bout that featured an all-out brawl between Jose Roman and Javier
Garcia, a high stakes chess match between Nonito Donaire and Toshika
Nishioka, and a classic between Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios. There
was something for everyone on this night which promised special action
and delivered (for the most part).
In the main event, Nonito
Donaire boxed smart (if a bit conservatively) to what felt like it was
going to be a unanimous decision. Instead, he slowly built to stopping
Toshiaki Nishioka, in effect the former WBC super-bantamweight champion
who never lost his belt in the ring.
cautious, using his right hand lead to the head and body. Nishioka, a
proud champion at age 36, used his counter puncher style to work his way
in slowly. Too slowly for some audience members’ tastes who still had
the blood from Rios-Alvarado in their mouths.
But Donaire picked
it up in the sixth and dropped Nishioka with a left uppercut. But
Nishioka got up and came right back and landed a left hand. Donaire
snapped out right hand leads and suddenly the crowd went from booing to
“Ok. We’ll stay.” A hard left from Donaire brought the fighting spirit
out of Nishioka who urged him on by clapping his hands together. Donaire
obliged with a left hook and more. Finally, a fight had broken out.
“When fighters open up, I am surgeon,” said Donaire after. “My left was hurting up and I needed a different approach.”
found that in the straight hand which dropped and hurt Nishioka badly
in the ninth. He rose but his corner began to make their way up to the
ring and Raul Caiz, Sr. called it off. The time was 1:54 of the ninth
for a TKO.
Donaire after said if he could not make the fights the
fans want, he will move up in weight. He eschewed a showdown with
Guillermo Rigondeaux, who is in his division and promotional stable.
“He doesn’t have a lot of fights to excite me. If I am not excited,” said Donaire, “I am bored like in my last two fights.
co-feature that eats like a meal was Oxnard’s Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios
and “Mile High” Mike Alvarado of Denver, CO. Words will never do this
fight justice. It has to be seen to be believed. We all expected to be
amazed, awed, blown away by the violence promised with these two styles.
We got all of that.
Alvarado started out jabbing, using his
length to box from the outside. Rios was having none of that. He right
to the body with three shots left to right and back again. Rios’ attack
was clear. When in doubt, the ribs work, Alvarado looked to jab and
moved back for space. He whacked away with a right hand but Rios stayed
in a high guard and blocked it. Rios found room for the left hook and
the uppercut to work in combination. Finally, Alvarado opened up and
landed. This was proving to be the right we all hoped for whether
Alvarado wanted to box or not. Rios smiled as Alvarado landed a right.
Alvarado let a long combination go and Rios stayed in his high guard
just making him miss.
In a fight this brutal, you almost don’t want to score because you know it won’t matter.
the second, the two came together into the phone and closed the door
right off the bat. Alvarado was already red and starting to swell, Rios
was like a windmill in there with uppercuts and Alvarado wasn’t far
behind. Two long-range rights moved Rios and the crowd “Oooh’d” but he
remained undaunted. Relentless violence. No matter what Rios got hit
with, he stayed right there, calm and ready to come right back with his
own punches. Alvarado would move back, Rios forward.
absolutely nasty late in this round. An uppercut miss turned into a
brutally accurate left hook. A long range shot moved Alvarado late and
the crowd cheered at the bell as Rios raised his hand in victory in the
stanza. This is what he was born for.
Round three and the pace
settled into a boxing match behind Alvarado’s jab. Rios kept pressing
forward with the body attack and uppercut up the middle. Alvarado let go
combinations but Rios was deadly accurate with the heavier crisper
The jab of Alvarado kept Rios at bay nut at the same time,
he blocked the shots and seemed to be resting while Alvarado was
working. Then Alvardo worked in some hard right hands and it was hard to
tell who was who. Was Rios tiring? Or resting? Was Alvarado bending
already? They traded rights but it was Rios, thought to be the smaller
man, was the one coming forward. Rios was caught by a right coming in
and smiled as it landed. But still, he kept hammering away and Alvarado
When the bell sounded, each man having landed hard,
heavy punches, Rios smiled and looked like round one while Alvarado
obligingly raised his hand but looked the worse for wear.
round. Alvarado tried to box a bit more, getting in some crisp long
range right hands. Rios showed an amazing chin taking flush right hands,
uppercuts and hooks and still coming back without blinking (or smiling)
and delivered major punishment of his own. Rios was like a bulldozer
slowing making its way through Mount Alvarado.
For round five, in
my notes it simply said “WOW.” That’s because seeing was barely
believing as Rios dug hard to the body over and over again. Alvarado
waited for his spots and would land something hard only to be countered
by a rock hard inside hook or uppercut. The violence was like a
slow-rising symphony that built to a crescendo barely paralleled by the
wars the Home Depot Center has seen in the past.
The crowd urged
them man forward, chanting “Rios! Rios! Rios!” The violence of round 5
was unbelievable. Rios killed the body and unloaded every punch he was
ever taught. Alvarado was right there, looking for space, and killing
the openings he was finding. The body work early of Rios had Alvarado
backing up and losing steam but he was game right up to the bell. But
then he’d get hit flush with a right and make you wonder ‘What’s keeping
Rios pressed forward and seemed to have Alvarado hurt and
retreating late but an Alvarado uppercut sent blood flying out of Rios’
Every time a round was crowned “Round of the Year,” in this fight, the bell would ring for another.
the seventh, Alvarado unloaded everything. He boxed and moved but you
could see there was less snap on his punches. Rios certainly did and
went right at Alvarado. A chopping right got things started. Alvarado
could move and box but in close? That’s where Rios was born to fight.
The right showed Rios he could hurt Alvarado. The left hook kept things
going. Another right and Alvarado began to show the signs of a
brain-shaken fighter. He went to the ropes and Rios unloaded shot after
shot but did not drop his hands as ref Pat Russell stepped in at 1:57 to
award the TKO to an ecstatic Rios.
“A great promoter and a great
manager that’s what made this great fight,” said Rios afterward. “ I
thought it would go a little longer. He checked my chin. I handled it. I
am ready for the next bout.”
HBO’s Max Kellerman asked him if he ever was hurt in the fight. An obvious “yes” considering the nature of the bout.
stung me but I didn’t show it and I kept going,” explained Rios. “It
was hard to get him with my jab so I had to use my right. We practiced
that in the gym.”
This is Rios’s junior welterweight debut and
while he may not be the biggest man in the division, he is a war
machine. Rios will be a problem for everyone at 140.
long it took men to get him out of there? That shows you. I have power
that will follow me to 140 and 147,” said Rios. “I take my hat off to
Mike. He took a helluva shot.”
As for where Rios goes from here, he just put himself in the Pacquiao/Marquez winner sweepstakes.
thing that happened to Mike Alvarado will happen to them,” smiled Rios.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Sr. taught me well. Break the body and the head
As for a rematch with Alvarado, who falls to 33-1, 23 KOs, Rios, 31-0-1, 22 KOs, was open.
you want it?” Rios asked the crowd who roared its approval. “Do you
want it? If they want it, my manager want it, fuckit let’s do it again.”
prospects Jose Roman and Javier Garcia put on an exciting appetizer. In
the first, the two young men went right to each other and exchanged
hard inside punches. Roman’s defense faltered for a moment and a left
hook dropped him. He rose and went right at Garcia, rocking him back on
his heels and setting up an effective second round.
up right where he left off in the second and dropped Garcia. The fighter
got up but was badly hurt, holding on for dear life.
third, a cut formed near the left eye of Garcia. It appeared to be from a
punch in a round Roman seemed to be winning. At round’s end, the
referee pat Russell ruled it was caused by a headbutt (some claim at the
behest of Garcia’s trainer, Robert Garcia) and the fighter, unable to
continue was waved off. In California, however, since four rounds had
not been completed and with the accidental headbutt causing an injury
that ended the fight, it was ruled a technical decision.
The ruling is being protested, rightly in this writer’s opinion, by Roman’s management.
140 pound prospect, Jose Benavidez survived a late scare to win a unanimous decision in eight rounds 79-73 three times.