Broomfield, CO: Brandon Rios dominated and stopped Mike Alvarado in just three rounds on Saturday night at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. The bout, which many folks thought and certainly hoped would be a continuation of the frequently thrilling and savage action seen in their first two scraps, was televised live on HBO.
The fight was promoted by Top Rank as a “welterweight championship,” a considerable feat since neither man is a current titleholder in any division. But the WBO came through to offer it’s international welterweight title, something that means much less than the words “international” and “championship” might lead one to believe.
Nevertheless, this was a championship of sorts. It was the championship between two hardcore brawlers who had split two fights against each other. The winner of the third bout would claim victory over the other man, and do it by being better at what the other man is known for: being a superlative bad-ass in an age where most fighters would rather lightly tap their way to a decision victory more than perhaps any other time in the sport’s history.
This was supposed to be the championship of welterweight action fights. But Rios made short work of Alvarado instead. His hooks and uppercuts landed with great precision, and Alvarado’s return fire was slow and sloppy.
Tension filled the arena as the bout was set to begin.
The crowd booed lustily when Rios was announced, and the roar was deafening for Alvarado when he came to the ring. The hometown kid brought in droves of fight fans to cheer him on. You could see love beaming in their eyes as he strolled confidently into the arena.
But none of that would matter when the bell sounded.
“I had to come out here, and they were booing,” said Rios. “And I loved [it] and I had to do what I had to do. This could have been the end of my career, and I didn’t want that to happen, and I didn't want it to end like this.”
Alvarado started the bout trying to box instead of brawl. He circled the ring with his hands held high. But Rios made it a street fight by the end of Round 1. He stalked and strafed the slow-footed Alvarado around the ring, making the CO. resident look like a giant-sized ragdoll.
The two went toe-to-toe in Round 2, but Rios was having his way with hooks and uppercuts on his foe until Alvarado landed a low blow to put Rios on his knees. After a brief rest due to the foul, Rios went back to work the way Rios pretty much always goes to work: with hooks, uppercuts and general nastiness.
In Round 3, Rios toppled Alvarado to the canvas with a destructive uppercut.
“The uppercut is my favorite punch,” said Rios. “I love my uppercut, and I have one of the best uppercuts in the world, and I threw it.”
Alvarado rose to his feet and fought back with vigor, but his punches still landed with rarity compared to the sharp, hard-punching Rios.
“I knew it wasn't going to be easy,” said Rios. “He is a warrior and I had to take my time and be patient. I was disciplined in camp. I knew he could come back and hit me, and I know he has power in both hands.”
Referee Jay Nady stopped the fight after Round 3 on the advice of the ringside doctor after Alvarado counted four fingers held up in front of him when there were only two.
Alvarado did not look sharp in the fight. He blamed a lackluster training effort.
“I didn't train like I should have, and that's what I get,” said Alvarado. “I didn't give it all I got. That's what I get. I wasn't as prepared as I should have been, and I got what I should have got, so it is what it is–whatever.”
Rios should have good opportunities ahead of him. He said he trusted his manager, Cameron Dunkin, to get the right fights for him. Bouts with Timothy Bradley, Ruslan Provodnikov or Juan Manuel Marquez would bring him solid money and big chances against elite foes.
Alvarado appears done as a prizefighter. He was slow, unsure of himself and inaccurate. There were rumors ringside of him missing the heavy bag during fight week workouts. That’s never a good sign.
Ramirez defeats Vlasov but needs more work
Super middleweight prospect Gilberto Ramirez hoped to show the world he was a force to be reckoned with on Saturday night. Instead, the undefeated fighter from Mexico, as well as his team, probably will reckon with the idea of him needing another year or two of seasoning before he tackles elite-level competition.
Ramirez defeated Maxim Vlasov by unanimous decision in a light heavyweight bout. Judges at ringside score the bout 96-94, 97-93 and 97-93. He improved his record to 31-0, while Vlasov fell to 30-2.
Ramirez is a much-ballyhooed prospect, one his promoter, Top Rank, probably hopes can turn into the genuine article. After all, if a prizefighter is to be as good as his handlers hope him to be, he might as well hail from the boxing-crazed country of Mexico because those fans support their fighters better than anyone.
Ramirez is a southpaw. He’s doesn’t possesses incredibly fast hands, but his punches land with solid enough thump. Moreover, he has a good little jab and he enjoys using it. That’s a good thing. Because Ramirez fights patiently behind a guard and fires power shots from the correct distance instead of barreling in forward like a madman.
While not particularly light on his feet, the undefeated prospect appears to have good balance. He keeps his feet wide enough to throw with power, and he digs to the body with both hands and with regularity.
The bout was fought at a slow pace. Vlasov was content to try and move and box for most of the fight, and he stuck Ramirez with a few straight right hands over the scheduled ten. But few, if any of them, landed with real power, so it appeared early Vlasov wasn’t going to have enough firepower to do anything but go rounds with the favored Ramirez.
So that’s what he did.
In the end, one gets the impression that Ramirez has much work to do if he’s going to compete with the very elite fighters at 168, such as Carl Froch or Andre Ward. And at 175, he would probably stand little chance against Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Jean Pascal or Bernard Hopkins.
But Ramirez is young and talented fighter, and neither HBO nor Top Rank are known for showcasing young fighters during primetime that they don’t believe will turn into someone special.
Ramirez may not be that noteworthy right now, but in a year or two his backers and ability might carry him into big money fights against elite-level opponents.
Check out my post-fight assessment, which is running on Boxing Channel.
— Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank
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