Trilogies can be very special and the third installment between Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and Mike “Mile High” Alvarado looks to be the latest can’t miss chapter of boxing’s blood sacrifices.
“Everyone is looking forward to what is a great, great fight,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum. “This one will probably top them all.”
When Rios (32-2-1, 23 Kos) climbs into the boxing ring to face Alvarado (34-3, 23 Kos) in Bloomfield, Colorado, this could be the most brutal of all three of their encounters. HBO will televise the Top Rank affair between fighters of Mexican descent.
”Were both from the hood. Real recognizes real,” said Rios. “We’re cool outside of the ring. But once we get inside the ring we want to kill each other.”
The last great trilogy was between Israel “El Magnifico” Vazquez and Rafael Marquez. A fourth encounter was held but the entire world knew that Vazquez’s eye was not fight-capable. But those first three super bantamweight clashes were ones for the ages.
When they first met at the Home Depot (now the StubHub) Center in March 2007, a busted nose forced Vazquez to stop. He was criticized vehemently by television analysts that night who questioned his courage. Boy, were they wrong.
A rematch five months later in South Texas changed the opinions of Vazquez as Marquez was unable to pass six rounds with his Mexico City compatriot. It was a fearsome display as Vazquez showed he had no apprehensions about tangling with Marquez.
In March 2008, both mighty pocket destroyers returned to the Home Depot Center with a closer fight emerging, which was not decided until the final round. A knockdown of Marquez was the key moment in giving Vazquez a split decision.
The Home Depot Center was the first setting for the Alvarado and Rios engagement, in October 2012. The entire crowd expected a brutal toe-to-toe slugfest and for much of the fight, that’s exactly what they delivered. It reminded me of the Rocky Graziano versus Tony Zale encounters in the 1940s. And like was more common in that era, Rios and Alvarado are now tangled in another trilogy.
Their last clash, in March 2013, took place in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Alvarado used his boxing skills to pull out a victory against the always charging Rios. The world knew a third clash was needed but their promoter Top Rank gave them a break and let them heal the psychological wounds of their first two encounters. Rios used that time to fight Manny Pacquiao and Diego Chaves. Alvarado was put against Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez. Now they return to their private war.
“Honestly, you got to let the fight go the way it’s going to go. Our styles clash. We know each other so well. We’re both going to make adjustments. It’s going to be very interesting,” said Alvarado.
Some other Mexican trilogies
Manuel Ortiz vs. Carlos Chavez
Beginning in 1941, the great Ortiz, who ruled the bantamweight division as world champion between 1942 and 1950, fought the popular slugger Carlos Chavez at the Hollywood Legion Stadium in Hollywood, CA. Their first encounter, a non-title fight in April, ended in a draw after 10 rounds so back they went into the same ring a month later with Ortiz winning the nontitle rematch by decision. In those days, the referee declared the winner and he saw Ortiz as the victor. It took three years before Chavez could entice Ortiz back in the ring. The third clash took place in the larger Gilmore Stadium in the Fairfax district. In a brutal slugfest Ortiz pulled out the nontitle win by split decision. Though Ortiz was the recognized bantamweight world champion, all three fights were not for the title. In those days there was only one world champion and it took a lot of money to put the title at stake. They would fight two more times with Chavez getting a draw and a win at the Olympic Auditorium. Both were non-title fights. People of that generation speak fondly of their L.A. battles.
Art “Golden Boy” Aragon vs. Mario Trigo
No boxer could draw the fans into an arena like Art “The Golden Boy” Aragon. He had a way of talking than rankled people and made fans want to see him lose, or maybe win. So when he fought Monterrey, Mexico’s Mario Trigo at the Olympic Auditorium in December 1949 and lost a unanimous decision, you knew there was going to be a rematch. The rematch came one month later in the same arena. This time Aragon won by decision. Hardcore Mexican fans wanted another fight between the two and they got it 11 months later with the third fight of the trilogy ending in a draw. It couldn’t end like that, so they started a second trilogy. Seventeen months later Aragon and Trigo met at the Olympic Auditorium in May 1951 for the California State lightweight title, which was a big thing back in those days. Aragon knocked out Trigo in the ninth round. Two years later, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Aragon knocked out Trigo again but this time in the fifth round. Both fighters hit the deck but Trigo was sent to the floor three times in September 1954. A year later they met for the sixth and final time in Mexicali, Mexico with Aragon scoring his third consecutive knockout of Trigo. The second trilogy was finally over.
Can Rios and Alvarado match any of these trilogies?
Both have styles that complement the other and both have tremendous pride. When this fight was made some people cringed and said it shouldn’t be allowed. But fistic entertainment like this can be hard to resist.
“Alvarado is like my brother. We’ll fight to the death,” said Rios.