Readers, who do you like in the Rios-Alvarado scrap, and the Donaire-Nishioka challenge? (Chris Farina)
Top Rank was caught by surprise from unexpected interest by the boxing media at the Biltmore Hotel in the heart of downtown on Monday.
Waiters scurried to find extra chairs and tables for the throng of reporters that attended the press conference.
“We didn’t expect this many people,” said Lee Samuels, the Top Rank publicist.
When a fight pitting two of the best junior featherweights Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire and Toshiaki “Speed King” Nishioka, plus junior welterweight sluggers Mike Alvarado and Brandon “Bam, Bam” Rios is announced, expect rabid interest for the Oct. 13 fight at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
HBO will televise.
“These are two tremendously competitive fights,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum. “If you love boxing this is a great event.”
He’s definitely not shooting hyperbole.
Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs) has blitzed through several weight divisions with his southpaw lightning reflexes punctuated by his knockout power. Only at 122 pounds have the knockouts not come easily, but he still packs a wallop.
“I will win. I am the better fighter,” Donaire, 29, said.
Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) was very straight forward with a look of confidence that showed appearance-wise.
“He’s been winning and proving he is a great fighter,” Nishioka said of Donaire. “I plan to win.”
Nishioka, 36, is also a southpaw and says that mistakes are not an option in this fight with the speedy Filipino.
“This will be the best fight at 122 this year,” Nishioka said.
Alvarado vs. Rios
The junior welterweight showdown will not take a back seat on this fight card. More than a few experts predict a Fight of the Year candidate.
“He doesn’t back down and I don’t back down,” said Colorado’s Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs). “This is the fight I’ve been waiting for.”
After fighting in a prior war with Riverside’s Mauricio Herrera that many are calling the Fight of the Year so far in 2012, he’s being entered in yet another potential firefight of epic proportions.
Oxnard’s Rios did not flinch when offered this fight.
“Of course Brandon Rios, if I offered Klitschko he’d take it,” said Arum jokingly but with a hint of veracity.
“It’s going to be a bloody, violent fight,” said Rios (30-0-1, 21 KOs). “I’m just ready to please my fans.”
Fans should be pleased by the fight card. It’s a slam dunk for boxing.
As I exited the underground parking lot at Pershing Square, one of the attendants looked at my parking ticket and noticed Donaire’s name.
“Is he fighting in Las Vegas?” asked the attendant.
I replied the fight is at the Home Depot Center.
His eyes opened wide.
“I’m going,” he said.
It’s going to be one of the best fight cards of 2012.