He's sat ring side and watched the thunder and lightning up close, seen the sweat cascade, shielded the blood droplets from his sport-coat.
Jim Lampley has seen Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios do their violent waltz twice and basically, expects the sweat quotient and need to shield his attire from the runoff spillage from the carnage to be in play once again on Saturday night.
So, Jim, what do you think unfolds on your air, on HBO, which starts programming at 9:45 PM ET, with an undercard attraction, a bout pitting Mexico’s Gilberto Ramirez (30-0, 24 KOs) versus Russia’s Maxim Vlasov (30-1, 15 KOs) in a light heavy tangle?
They will do what it is they do, which is re-acquaint themselves in violent fashion, he told me, and who will have their hand raised at the end of however many rounds goes down will depend on a couple things.
First off, Lampley told me that several folks who would know have told him that Rios is walking the walk, and is indeed in a re-dedicated mode as of late. On calls and interviews, the Texas-born born hitter, who lives in Cali, admitted that some of that recent success infected him, that he came down with paycheck-itis after a few of his fat-purse tussles bloated his bank account.
Bank account bigger, willingness to grind smaller.
Lampley is buying the Rios rap and thinks that reset in attitude could bear fruit, and give him the edge when all is said and done at the 1stBank center in Bloomfield, CO. Meanwhile, Alvarado has said that he will not be distracted by the various issues hanging over his head…but in fact “he was arrested a couple weeks ago,” the blow by blow man who gets a Hall call this summer told me. “Can he minimize that in his mind, and focus on the task at hand?” Somewhat of a rhetorical question; we batted about the notion that fighters aren't built quite like us squares, that physically and mentally they are of a different stock. So, maybe a gun charge hanging over my head infects my attitude mightily and takes away from my ability to be present in body and brain and ready myself for taking on tasks. Maybe that same gun charge is sort of par for the Alvarado course, and he can shrug it off, and in fact shelve any worries and get his body and head into fighting form. “Boxers are people too,” Lampley said, “and while many come from a place where such dramas are not a rarity” it would be a heavy lift for Alvarado to be able to “compartmentalize” the goings-on to perfection.
So, are we to believe Alvarado when he declares that a day in jail didn't take away from his prep? “I have grown so much from all of these learning experiences,” he said, spinning fairly masterfully. “I put them behind me. I don’t hold on to them. I don’t bring them with me into the ring and it’s not a distraction. I have learned to be positive through it and be strong and it gives me more confidence to be a better person and a better fighter. On Saturday night it is on us to reach deep inside and make the adjustments that we need to make to overcome this kind of fight.”
Things is, once the bell rings, you just know, during portions of each round, rumbling will occur. Risk aversion won't be on the table as trading, fast and furious and nasty, will ensue.
Rios summed it up nicely during a recent conference call: “We are cool outside the ring but once we get in that ring we hate each other,” he said. “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 think most of us assessing this scrap see Rios (32-2-1), at age 28, and 1-2 in his last three, as maybe having a quarter more in the tank than the 34-year-old Alvarado. “Mile High Mike”–man, does that nickname always give you as much pause as it does me, for sheer provocativeness?– won one of his last four, and ate leather sandwiches from Rios, and Ruslan Provodnikov, and Juan Manuel Marquez in the last two years. That accumulative punishment, coupled with, can we agree, at least the distinct possibility of a loss of focus from his law enforcement meet 'n greet, has me leaning Rios on Saturday. Lampley doesn't disagree with that reasoning.
And you, fight fans? Talk to me, in our Fabulous Forum…
Follow Woods on the Twitter.