Their first fight was reminiscent of the best of Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward.
For 20 enthralling minutes, they exchanged heavy artillery, with neither man gaining a significant edge.
Finally, a barrage of punches forced a stoppage in round seven.
Brandon Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) had absorbed everything that Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) could muster. His punches had bounced of the chin of Rios like bullets from Superman’s chest.
On March 30, 2013 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV, the two will meet again.
It’s been five months since their first fight.
“It’s never too soon to do it again,” Rios said. “We are warriors and if you are a warrior, you want to fight again and again and again.”
Cameron Dunkin, who manages Rios, was against a second fight.
"It's a fight that I didn't want and I'll say it again on the record," Dunkin told Dan Rafael of ESPN. "I didn't want the first one either and when everyone started giving me credit for it, I said I didn't want it. I know how hard this fight is. I know how rough this fight is.”
Alvarado, who tasted defeat for the first time in his career, relishes his chance for redemption.
“Why will I fight him again? It is a fight that the fans want,” Alvarado said. “Having the rematch gives me an opportunity to redeem myself after the first fight. That was a good fight. We are both warriors.”
During their bout, Alvarado, 32, was able to create space and beat Rios to the punch. His jab was effective. Still, his warrior mentality wouldn’t allow him to stick to his game place.
Rios, 26, can box, but prefers to brawl. He fights like a thrill seeker - always in search of different ways to test his ability to survive. Alvarado proved his own mettle against Breidis Prescott two years ago. Behind on the scorecards, he stopped the tough Columbian in round 10.
Rios doesn’t need much room to get off his powerful shots. His uppercut is one of his favorite punches.
Alvarado must stay disciplined and box if he wants to win. Like the first fight, he’ll find Rios easy to hit, but can he slow him down?
Rios will enter the ring with the knowledge that he can hurt Alvarado. His intense pressure will start immediately. He’ll eat some Alvarado shots and spit them out.
The rematch is a scheduled 12-rounder (the first fight was 10 rounds), stamina could be an issue.
Alvarado does have the skills to win, but Rios has the power to change the fight in an instant.
Rios by 10th round stoppage.
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