I challenge everybody who loves combat sports to find me a better fight this year than this one. Yes, I'm that confident that Rios-Alvarado is the Fight Of The Year, and perhaps a modern classic.
Some background on this fight: when former Lightweight titlist Rios moved up to Jr. Welterweight, he asked his promoters to find him that "baddest ************" at 140. There was no tune-up fight for him. He immediately wanted to go to war when moving to his new division.
His promoters were happy to oblige him by matching him up with Mike Alvarado, who had already decimated Breidis Prescott and Mauricio Herrera in previous fights.
Before the the fight, Brandon Rios was 30-0-1. Mike Alvarado was 33-0. Both men were putting everything on the line.
Alvarado started Rd 1 by attempting to box Rios. Rios, however, was having none of it. He kept moving forward, throwing his bombs, and giving Alvarado something to think about. By the last minute of Rd 1, Alvarado disposed of any pretense of the sweet science and began throwing his own bombs.
It was apparent that this was going to be a war.
Rd 2 was another seesaw affair, with a pattern that would be apparent through the rest of the fight. Alvarado was having success with straight right from the outside. Rios was finding a home with some inside hooks and body shots.
Rds 3, 4, and 5 made it seem as though Alvarado's bigger size and volume punches would be the difference. Every time Rios ventured near the killzone, he would eat lots of leather. Yet, even though Rios head kept getting snapped back, his legs did not buckle once.
Rd 6 saw something that would change the momentum of the fight. Rios swung an overhand that hurt Alvarado badly. It was clear he was buzzed.
Rios was repeat this feat once again in Rd 7. This time Alvarado would not recover, and he was rendered defenseless while still on his feet. Thankfully, the ref stopped the fight — allowing Alvarado to fight another day.
In winning this fight, Rios has established himself as the Arturo Gatti of our generation. He's a an all action human highlight reel who always brings the goods. Certainly, he's no student of the sweet science. Who cares, though? Rios is a true blood and guts warrior, and the one fight fans want to see.