Rios comes loaded for bear, empties Alvarado in three
It was the final bout of a trilogy that was sure to be as electric as the first two fights but it takes two to tango and Brandon Rios showed up without a dance partner. After their first two rounds, an already battered, bruised and disoriented Mike Alvarado returned to his corner without the spirit we’ve all been used to seeing. The reticent responses to his trainer, Shann Vilhauer’s orders between rounds mirrored Alvarado’s replies to the vicious uppercuts from Rios. Something was clearly different and by the third round, chants of “Rios!” coming from the Alvarado’s hometown crowd resonated throughout the 1stBank Center in Bloomfield, CO. Maybe “Mile High” Mike heard those chants and after being knocked down in the third round by one of those uppercuts, he responded with a desperate low blow that was seemingly the only effective tactic to provide a breather. Rios went back to work after regrouping and Alvarado reluctantly limped back to his corner as the round ended.
After failing to convince the ringside doctor he could continue, the fight was stopped in Alvarado’s corner before the fourth round bell sounded, giving Rios the TKO victory.
Alvarado sat there between the third and fourth rounds deflated and on the HBO telecast, you could hear him complaining of losing vision regardless of neither eye being swollen shut. What was closed was any window of desire to answer the fourth bell as Alvarado shook his head to both his corner and the ringside doctor. To his credit, Rios showed up ready for combat in the preemptive war by throwing punches at will but without return fire from his opponent, Rios’ effort became seemingly inequitable. Rios displayed what he always has throughout his career, a willingness to throw punches without the fear of getting hit in return. Put simply, he came to fight. Alvarado, on the other hand, didn’t. He showed us signs of being troubled leading up to Saturday night’s bout, having been arrested three weeks ago, yet we all took his word for being prepared for the fight. In the end, Alvarado left everyone disappointed.
Adding to the buzzkill was the post-fight interview from Alvarado, 34-4 (23). Admitting he wasn’t prepared, Alvarado was practically booed louder as his rationalization of the lackluster performance became more embarrassing. He has lost his last three bouts and hasn’t won since beating Rios in the second installment of their trilogy. It wasn’t a good night for Alvarado and his boxing career may come into question going forward. Still with legal issues ahead of him, one could hope Alvarado fixes the issues outside of the ring first before he ever returns to the squared circle. Rios, 33-2-1 (24), gets a true victory after his last one, a disqualification win over Diego Chaves, wasn’t exactly a feather for his cap. He did his part in showing up to fight and tried to help give us a definitive end to this trilogy but the one-sided affair against a broken Alvarado isn’t something one could – or should – brag about.
In the end, the fight was an anti-climactic one, and all fingers could only be pointed towards Alvarado’s performance.
Ramirez outlasts Vlasov
In the co-feature, rising Mexican prospect, Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez outworked Maxim Vlasov in a 10-round match earning a unanimous decision victory (96-94, 97-93 twice). The fight was fought at the contracted weight of 171 pounds.
With extensive work to his opponent’s body, Ramirez consistently used this game plan to garner enough rounds on the judges’ scorecards. For the first half of the fight, Vlasov didn’t seem to have an answer for the punishment to his ribcage but showed tremendous grit to withstand the bruising shots. It looked as though Ramirez would go about the fight easily at the midway point but a mixture of Vlasov finding a counter-punch and the high altitude of the Colorado rockies may have slowed Ramirez down at the end. It was a stiff, straight right hand of the Russian that found a home on Ramirez’s head that gave the Mexican problems. Vlasov landed it enough to leave Ramirez with a badly bruised left eye by the end of the fight. Although he landed it with enough force to visibly snap Ramirez’s head back, Vlasov couldn’t put anything together after landing that sole punch. Throughout the entire bout, he couldn’t seem to put together more than two-punch combinations while Ramirez did the exact opposite and let his hands go effectively. It was the difference in the fight and although Ramirez clearly tired in the final two rounds, his output and efficiency alone earned him a well-deserved victory.
He didn’t look like the dominant prospect we have been used to seeing leading up to Vlasov but the experience of facing a game opponent may serve useful in the future for the 23-year-old Ramirez, 31-0 (24). It was his first official appearance on HBO and he will be back in the same spotlight going forward as he climbs his way up into world super middleweight title contention. Vlasov, 30-2, (15), suffers his first defeat in almost four years but misses out on making waves within the 168-pound division despite the spirited effort.