RINGSIDE Bam Bam Rios Wins Fight of the Year; Donaire TKOs Nishioka

Rios Alvarado 121013 001aRios turned it around and gave fans what he said he wanted to give them, in concert with Alvarado. A rematch makes much sense to us in TSS Universe. (Chris Farina)

CARSON, CALIF.-One was the Fight of the Year and the other was Disappointment of the Year as Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios knocked out Mike Alvarado in a brutal battle between undefeated junior welterweights and Nonito Donaire cruised past Japan's Toshiaki Nishioka to win by knockout too on Saturday.

It's not often that the bigger guys out-fight the smaller guys but that's what happened at the Home Depot Center as Donaire (30-1, 19 KOs) won by technical knockout over Nishioka (39-5-3, 24 KOs) amid boos from those who saw Rios and Alvarado slug it out viciously.

Still, Donaire eliminated one more junior featherweight champion.

It was a slow first round with Donaire doing most of the leading. A few combinations by Donaire but the lead right scored a couple of times for the Filipino Flash.

Donaire opened up to another gear and began firing combinations, but not enough to please the fans who booed the lack of action. Nishioka discovered he could score with the right jab and connected several times. But Donaire's speed bothered him in round two.

Nishioka refused to mount any kind of offense against the speedy Donaire whose lightning reflexes and catlike movement seemed to intimidate the Japanese champion. Donaire pounced around firing combos but Nishioka could not seem to be inclined to take a chance.

Donaire carried the action in round four in a rerun of the previous three rounds. Donaire's speed caused pause after pause from the Japanese fighter who was strictly in counter punch mode.

The crowd couldn't tell but Nishioka finally mounted some kind of offense but was muted by Donaire's reflexes and legs. Still, Donaire won this round too easily. A low blow toward the end of the round by Nishioka stopped the action briefly.

After six rounds of relative inactivity, the Japanese boxer opened up with some big punches and that opened him up for a Donaire barrage of right hands and a left uppercut that dropped Nishioka. He beat the count and fired back. But after the knockdown there was no turning back for the Japanese fighter. Counter punching was not going to do the job.

After hitting the deck in the previous round, Nishioka returned to fighting more defensively and Donaire continued the outside assault that proved indefensible in round seven.

Nishioka attacked a little more and actually fired and connected with a three-punch combination. Both traded lefts with the Japanese landing but neither getting hurt. It was Nishioka's best round.

“I was just playing possum and I was timing that jab and that was it,” said Donaire.

The end for Nishioka came when he opened up with a three punch combination and several stiff jabs. Suddenly a Donaire counter right floored Nishioka and though he beat the count his corner saw Donaire jump on the Japanese fighter immediately. Referee Raul Caiz saw the corner asking to surrender and stopped the fight at 1:54 of round nine. Donaire was near flawless against Nishioka who was considered a dangerous opponent by most observers. The speed difference between the “Filipino Flash” and the “Speed King” was light years apart.

“Nishioka is a great fighter, we know he can end the punch with one punch,” Donaire said. “He made the mistake and I got him with the uppercut. But I hurt my hand so I had to go with my right.”

That single right hand ended the fight with Donaire sounding disappointed that there was not more of a struggle.

“When you do engage Nonito is a surgeon. I can pick them apart and knock people out,” Donaire said.

Final punch stats by Compubox had Donaire landing 134 to Nishioka's 49.

Fight of the Year?

More often than not, expected slugfests fail to materialize. But not this time between Rios (31-0-1, 22 KOs) and Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs). Fans got what they expected in brutal fashion.

Let the slugfest begin as both Alvarado and Rios unleashed the big bombs in round one. Very few feeling out punches with these guys as they fired their best immediately.

Alvarado used his speed to fire off some jabs and combinations to win the first two minutes of the second round. But Rios rallied with his own bombs including two left hooks that rocked Alvarado a bit at the end of the round.

“He shook me up a little bit,” said Alvarado.

Body shots aplenty by Rios in the third round. But the Oxnard fighter ran into a right hand by Alvarado.

Alvarado decided to use more defense and slipped punches while delivering some hellish left uppercuts and left hooks to Rios' head in round four. He looked like he was beginning to warm up.

“I was still warming up in there,” Alvarado said.

Round five started with Alvarado pummeling Rios with jabs and a five punch combination. Then Rios erupted with his own salvo and both traded blows till the bell.

“I'm a warrior. I go forward. He got me a little stunned but I didn't show it and continued going on,” said Rios about receiving some of Alvarado's big blows.

The sixth round saw Alvarado splatter blood from Rios' mouth with a left uppercut but Rios rallied to win the round with a right hand that stunned Alvarado. It was a precursor of what was to come.

“I knew he had that style. It was hard to get him with my jab,” said Rios about working on the overhand right. “I practiced it over and over in the gym.”

Rios found Alvarado's weakness in round seven with several overhand rights that seemed to be out of the Colorado fighter's vision. After three rights snapped Alvarado's head another caught him on the jaw and sent him reeling along the ropes with his gloves down. Rios pursued with the referee looking closely and landed some more right hands that forced Alvarado to seek cover along the ropes. Suddenly, referee Pat Russell decided Alvarado had enough and stopped the fight at 1:57 of the round to give Rios the technical knockout win.

“I was ready for it. I thought it would go a little longer. I handled it,” said Rios. “It took a little longer to get him out of there. I have power. I carried it up.”

Alvarado was still slightly miffed at the stoppage.

“I was surprised about it,” said Alvarado about the stoppage though he never hit the canvas. “I'm still a warrior.”

Rios agreed and welcomes a second fight if the fans want it.

Other bouts

Highly touted Jose Benavidez (17-0, 13 KOs) survived a tumultuous last round to beat Mexico's Pavel Miranda (19-8-1, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision after eight rounds of a junior welterweight fight. For seven rounds Benavidez used his ramrod jab and precise combinations to rack up rounds against Tijuana's Miranda. Then, a left hook staggered Benavidez in the last round during an exchange and the Phoenix boxer held and clutched his opponent to survive the last round. All three judges scored it 79-73 for Benavidez.

Riverside's Saul “Kid Dynamite” Rodriguez (6-0-1, 5 KOs) was maybe 10 seconds from ending the night for Mexico's Cesar Garcia (6-12-2) who staggered back to his corner at the end of round two. But because of two severe cuts alongside both eyes of Garcia, the referee Pat Russell deemed both cuts came from accidental head butts. The fight was ruled a technical draw because the fight needed to go to four rounds before it could go to the judges' score cards according to California prizefighting rules.

A war between Southern California neighborhood gyms finally took place between Garden Grove's Jose “El Gato” Roman (14-0-1, 11 KOs) and Oxnard's Javier “Pelos” Garcia (8-2-2, 7 KOs). But the winner was not discovered when a cut suffered by Garcia in round three resulted in the referee stopping the fight after the second round. According to CA rules the fight must go four rounds to go to a decision. The fight ended in a technical decision draw.

The first two rounds saw brutal exchanges between the two warring boxers. Before the fight words and accusations flowed freely between the two camps. In the first round a double left hook to the body and head floored Roman. He beat the count. In the second round, a left hook staggered Garcia and that was followed by a pinpoint right cross through the gloves by Roman. Down went Garcia who held his opponent tightly to survive. Round three was not decisive for either fighter but Garcia's face bore blood streaming down from his left eye and the fight was stopped by referee Pat Russell.

Miami's Ronald Ellis (4-0, 3 KOs) out boxed Denver's Katrell Straus (2-3) after four rounds of a super middleweight bout. Ellis landed continually against the southpaw Straus but was unable to hurt the Denver fighter. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Ellis who trains under Oxnard's Robert Garcia.

Chicago's Trevor McCumby (7-0, 7 KOs) blew right by Mexico's Eliseo Durazo (4-4-1) in one round. A left hook sent Durazo flying across the ring and into the ropes for a knockdown. Then a couple of one-twos sent him through the ropes dangling and the referee ended the fight at 1:40 of the round for a knockout win for light heavyweight McCumby.

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