Brandon Rios (32-2, 23KO’s) of Oxnard, California is gearing up to complete his triumvirate of fights with longstanding rival Mike Alvarado, on January 24th, in what is essentially his opponent’s backyard at the 1stBank Center in Bloomfield, Colorado.
The two fighters, both renowned for their willingness to wade through tremendous amounts of punishment in order to get the win. The first two fights between them ended with one win apiece; a seventh round stoppage in late 2012 for Rios followed by a points win in early ’13 for Alvarado. Both instances were welcome delicacies to the palate of the bloodthirsty fight fan.
“However the first round goes, that’s how the fight is going to be, and we are ready. We are ready for war; we are ready for boxing and ready for everything that we are going to make adjustments. I know it’s going to be a great fight, and the fans are going to love this one.” said Rios.
Rios identifies with Alvarado as a man. He sees traits in his competitor he possesses in himself, and that is why the two combine in such combustible fashion.
“There is no animosity between Mike and me; we are cool. We are the same kind of people. We are the same person. We know what it takes to be where we are at. We both have our problems outside the ring, and we both have our problems inside the ring. We know that and at the end of the day we are both the same person. We are both from the hood – we both grew up like that. We understand ‘real’ and we recognize ‘real,’ and that’s what we are we are real fighters. We are cool outside the ring but once we get in that ring, we hate each other. We want to kill each other and that’s what makes this sport and that’s what makes these fights more exciting because everyone thinks that ‘these guys are too close, they have fun together, but once they get in the ring they kill each other.’ It’s like the Army, all of the soldiers are your brothers. Alvarado is like my brother and we fight – we fight until somebody gets hurt.”
I’m grateful my brothers and I do not treat each other in a similar fashion because I most likely wouldn’t have fingers left to type with.
Throughout his entire career Rios has thrived in the notably harsh environment he creates for himself in the ring. His style is to get in close, right in the firing line, to roll, duck, and block, and then throw clusters of hurtful hooks and uppercuts. It is an approach that dismisses the notion of ‘safety first’.
It was an effective strategy when he was fighting down in the lightweight division where he could make his physicality count for so much more, but as has been well documented Rios struggled to get below 135 .lb. So much he felt the need to move up, and against the bigger guys he hasn’t had the same success. Both fights with Alvarado were at 140 lb. And he looked good in each. In the two fights following against Manny Pacquiao(a wide points loss) and Diego Chaves(a disqualification win in which he was down on the cards), he jumped up another seven pounds to welterweight. It was not a good look for him. The flab on his torso would be less of a problem if the activity he used to bring hadn’t dropped considerably too.
“From the Pacquiao fight, it is what it is. He showed why he is one of the greatest in the world, and I am proud to have lost to one of the greatest in the world. I was confident going into that fight, and I thought I was going to win that fight, but I lost, and there is nothing I can take away from that. And that controversial win (Chaves) – how is that controversial? Because the guy is eye-gouging me? And keeps eye-gouging me and eye-gouging me – that is controversial? Because he was winning? I still had another round to come back – I was down a point on the cards. It wasn’t like I was losing the whole entire fight. I was down one point and still had a round to go. That’s why he was eye-gouging me because he felt the pressure and the power so he had no other choice than to do his dirty tactics, which he did. I read that in Argentina he is doing all kinds of dirty (stuff) – he bit a British kid in the amateurs. This guy is a dirty guy. You might think it is controversial then you can think that, but at the end of the day I don’t really care what anybody says about it. A win is a win, and I still got the win.”
A win, even a debatable win, may be enough to pick Rios up from this lull he seems to be in. Perhaps, that is why he is content to take a win in whatever fashion it comes. Any psychological boost must be important to a fighter on the eve of engagement.
“I am so focused right now and ready for this fight. It is unbelievable. I had a tremendous training camp, and I know what could happen if we lose and what could happen if we win. My mind is set on the prize and for the glory. I am still young in the sport, and I have a lot to give to it.”