by Cliff Rold

I could have showed heart but…

Those words are going to haunt Mike Alvarado for a long time.  In his post-fight interview with HBO, Alvarado was honest to a fault.  He admitted he wasn’t properly prepared and pulled out of the fight Saturday, opting against more heart than was physically good for him.

Honesty is not always the best policy.

When surrounded by thousands of hometown fans that paid their hard earned money for ticket, to say you quit after you didn’t prepare is bad policy.

Mike Alvarado has always been a warrior.  Fights like Breidis Prescott, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov, and the first two with Brandon Rios will be remembered in the long run.

In the short run, amplified in the age of social media, Alvarado is about to find out what it was like to be Andrew Golota.       

Let’s go the report card.


Pre-Fight: Speed – Alvarado B-; Rios B-/Post: B-; B

Pre-Fight: Power – Alvarado B+; Rios B+/Post: B; B+

Pre-Fight: Defense – Alvarado C; Rios C/Post: F; B

Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Alvarado B+; Rios B/Post: F; B+

How does one grade a fight where one fighter admits they didn’t really get their game together?

Well, they grade the fight well for the winner.  Rios showed up to whoop ass.  Rios whooped ass.

Mission accomplished.

Taking very little back until a salvo of shots late in the third, Rios was sharper and more focused than he’s been in a long time.  Alvarado’s poor form may have helped, but not just anyone could have run Alvarado over.  There are lesser fighters Alvarado may have faked it against.  Rios may not be among the ring elite, but he’s world class.

There’s no faking against world-class fighters.  Rios showed good head movement and blocking as he stayed close and pummeled his man.  There was some caution for a minute or so but once he found the hole, Rios pounced.

Alvarado was a bloody mess by the end of the opening frame.  He was dropped and beaten when the bell rang to end the third. 

The biggest mistake of the night wasn’t Alvarado’s trainer trying to get him to go out for round four.  It was letting Alvarado near a microphone.  Well-documented issues before the fight proved prophetic for the outcome.

What Alvarado does in the ring from here isn’t that interesting right now.

For Rios, there is plenty to be interested in.  Keep him away from slick boxers, or Manny Pacquiao, and he’s good theatre.  Juan Manuel Marquez would likely beat him but it would be fun in a Marquez-Katsidis sort of way.  Bouts with Jessie Vargas, Terrence Crawford (who fights enough to make slick exciting), and Timothy Bradley are all possibilities under the Top Rank banner.

If it comes off, who wouldn’t want to see Rios versus the winner of a Ruslan Provodnikov-Lucas Matthysse fight?

No.  Seriously.  Read that last question again.

Yeah.  Let’s do that.  

Report Card Picks 2015: 3-0 (including staff pick for Ramirez-Vlasov)

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at