Mike Alvarado, Brandon Rios, and Victor Ortiz: Three Peas in a Pod

Throw the names of these three into a hat. Shake it up and pull out any two. A great fight would be in the offing. Each now competes as a welterweight. Each has a similar record. Each fought common opponents. Each was a world champion. Each is of Hispanic heritage. Each had/has formidable punching power. Each was seldom in a dull fight. But each may not have much left.

Alvarado (39-4)

“It’s boxing, man! … Yeah, I’ve gotten hit… It’s because most of the time, I like to fight. I could make the fights boring…but I don’t like a boring fight… I like to be in the mix of exchanges. I like to be in the mix of close fights. I just like to entertain and show that I’m a true fighter…” -Mike Alvarado

Mike “Mile High” Alvarado has won five straight—four by stoppage–since being dismantled by Brandon Rios on January 24, 2015. Prior to the Rios destruction, Alvarado, 37, was softened up by Juan Manuel Marquez in a grueling thriller and by ferocious Ruslan Provodnikov in a bid for the WBO super lightweight title.

Mike’s last notable performance was his masterpiece against Rios in a rematch win on March 19, 2013. He was 33-1 at the time and had duked with some tough hombres along the way including a prime Michael Clark, Caesar Bazan, Emmanuel Clottey, Breidis Prescott, and Mauricio Herrera. Mike is never in a dull fight and has a knack for pulling things out in the last few rounds.

Whether Alvarado has anything left is questionable as the Rios trilogy combined with losses to Provodnikov and Marquez took a heavy toll. However, if he were to fight a fourth bout with Rios, it’s fair to say that he would be the favorite.

Rios (34-4-1)

“I’m like Arturo Gatti, like Morales, Barrera and Marquez. “(As for Victor Ortiz) his little life story is full of baloney, he is a phony baloney.”—Brandon Rios

The brash Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, 32, held the WBA lightweight title in 2011 and challenged once for the WBO welterweight title in 2015. Like Alvarado, he has faced stiff opposition and it too has taken its toll. After his first win over Alvarado in 2012, he lost the rematch and then was dominated by Manny Pacquiao eight months later. He won a controversial DQ against Diego Gabriel Chaves (23-1) in 2014 but showed signs of wear and tear.

A win against Alvarado in 2015 ended the trilogy but then Rios was stopped for the first time in his career by a Timothy Bradley body shot in Las Vegas in November 2015. A confidence-builder KO win over tough Aaron Herrera in 2017 set Brandon up for a fight against former champion Danny Garcia. Bam Bam looked sluggish taking sharp rights from “Swift” throughout the early rounds. Finally, Garcia set down and unleashed a right that connected flush on the jaw and sent Rios falling straight backward and done as done can be.

The post-fight interview (which should never have been conducted) showed that Bam Bam had not yet recovered as he slurred his words. It was uncomfortable to witness.

Many are now calling for a long-awaited match between Rios and “Vicious” Victor Ortiz and if the rumors are true, it could be as early as August.

Ortiz (32-6-3)

“Protect yourself at all times.” — Anonymous

The likable Ortiz’s early life reads like a horror story. Suffice it to say that when he moved to Oxnard, California, things got much better. An early feud with Rios has simmered since they were amateurs training together in Garden City, Kansas. It seems to have gotten to Rios more than Ortiz but would certainly feed into ticket sales if the two were to fight as rumored.

Victor’s early level of opposition did not really improve until he TKOed Ghana’s Emmanuel Clottey in 2007. He beat Mike Arnaoutis in 2009 and was 24-1 when he lost to Marcus Maidana that year in a bid for the interim WBA world super lightweight title. This was the first time Victor showed a strange if ever-so-slight propensity to have mental lapses in a fight. And this came after flooring Maidana three times—the first round being Round of the Year. Victor matched “El Chino” with his power punching as he launched nasty stuff from a southpaw stance in a thrill-filled spine-tingler that ended in round six with Maidana the victor by TKO. Ortiz was on his feet when the fight ended and many chastised him for not protesting when the fight was stopped.

After the Maidana punch-fest, Victor won four straight and then drew with Lamont Peterson (a gift draw for Peterson). He then won a unanimous decision over undefeated Andre Berto (27-0) in The Ring magazine’s 2011 Fight of the Year, setting up a monster payday against Floyd Mayweather in 2011 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

This time, Victor turned to some roughhousing, including an intentional billy goat head butt that led referee Joe Cortez to stop the action and deduct a point. When the action resumed, Ortiz failed to follow the oldest adage in boxing by not protecting himself. Looking at Cortez instead of Mayweather, he paid the price and was knocked out by an aroused and opportunistic Floyd via a left hook, right hand combo. A cheap shot? Maybe. Legal? Absolutely.

Ortiz then lost to big underdog Josesito Lopez, again calling in to question a propensity to quit, but he had suffered a broken jaw in still another brutal affair. Luis Collazo then shockingly took the “Vicious” from Victor by waxing him with a punch that landed seconds before the bell ending round two.

Ortiz rebounded with two wins, but then his career seemed to be all but over when he lost to Berto in a rematch where Berto rallied from a first round knockdown to win by KO. This time the crowd booed Victor lustily and one fan even threw something in his face, but Berto came to his defense, asserting that anyone who steps into a boxing ring deserves respect.

More than a year later, Ortiz KOed Saul Corral (also an Alvarado victim) and then in February of this year he drew with talented Devon Alexander, thus signalling that he may still have something left.

Most Likely Matchup

Ortiz vs. Rios in a grudge fight that could be billed “Bad Blood.” Both have had controversy, though Rios’s has been more abusive (how can anyone forget the Freddie Roach imitation?). These two truly do not like each other. If they meet, the thinking here is that the more athletic and multi-dimensional Ortiz has more than enough left to put a more badly faded Rios away. Interestingly, this probably would not have been the case five years ago.

Ted Sares is one of the oldest active full power lifters in the world. A member of Ring 10, and Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame, he was recently cited by Hannibal Boxing as one of three “Must-Read” boxing writers.

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