Former World Lightweight champion, Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (30-0-1, 21 KOs) of Oxnard, California, moves up in weight to battle Denver, Colorado’s undefeated world rated Mike “Mile High” Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs) for the #1 WBO Jr. Welterweight spot in what appears to be a classic slugfest. The Alvarado vs. Rios showdown will be the televised co-feature for the HBO Boxing After Dark main event involving WBC/IBF Jr Featherweight champion, Nonito “ The Filipino Flash” Donaire 29-1 (18) vs. WBC Bantamweight champion,Toshiaki Noshiaki 39-4-3 (29) at the Home Depot Center, located in Carson, California.
Fightnews sat down with Alvarado after a recent workout.
FightNews: Mike, in beating Mauricio Herrera in your last bout in yet another thrilling decision, your confidence heading into this bout with Rios must be soaring; after all Herrera holds a win over the popular power punching Jr welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov.
How did you rate your performance against Herrera?
Alvarado: I rate my performance an A-; I came close to stopping him a few times and there is always room for improvement. I got the win and that’s most important. As far as confidence, I believe in myself and I have a great team that surrounds me. I’m happy where things are right now.
FightNews: Recently, you have gained plenty of steam and popularity for your come from behind win against Bredis Prescott and your blood and guts win against Mauricio Herrera. Do these victories add wear and tear to your body or you see those trench wars as a clear advantage for you heading into this fight with Rios?
Alvarado: Those particular fights taught me a lot about myself, I now know that I can get through these tough fights and come up on top in the process. My health is fine and my style is to fight and if that means a few bumps or bruises then so be it. I want to entertain the fans. I know what I need to work on in camp and I’m extremely motivated for this fight with Brandon.
FightNews: Mike, you have rallied in the championship rounds as of late, especially in rounds 11-12. The fight is scheduled for 10 RDS. Will you need to get off to a much faster pace than usual?
Alvarado: I’m going to start earlier, our whole training mode is to start fast and apply a fast, strong pace. Throw more combinations, and make him fight our fight. I felt like one of the keys and success against Herrera was the fact that I did get off to a fast start. Each fight is different but we know that we can’t give away any rounds. However, honestly I don’t see this fight going all 10 RDS. I’m going for the knockout.
FightNews: Rios is known as an aggressive all out fighter, most would describe you as displaying a similar style as well.
So, will your game plan be to bang with him or show more of your underrated boxing skills?
Alvarado: Definitely, you will see me display my boxing skills. But, if he stands in front of me, than its war. I feel like the best is yet to come. I’ve been dreaming of the day that I could show my full arsenal. Rios will raise my level to the highest and I will do whatever it takes to get that “W”.
FightNews: Rios won 10 of his last 12 by stoppage, while you have won 10 of your last 13 by stoppage, obviously, the hype is there, and most sense a Gatti-Ward type fight. How do you see the fight playing itself out?
Alvarado: He’s a power puncher; I need to hold my ground. I see myself making the right adjustments. I’m bigger, stronger, and overall the better skilled fighter. He’s moving up to my weight, this is my division. I earned this spot. I make weight all the time and my conditioning will be superior. I’m going to win this fight.
FightNews: Mike, you are rated #3 by the IBF and #1 by the WBO.
Most would argue that you didn’t even need to take a fight like this. Is this personal or simply about being the best?
Alvarado: No, this is not personal; this fight is about being the best. I’m not sure who I have to beat to get a world title shot but this fight will catapult me to bigger and better things. This is my destiny. I’m very happy with how things turned out.
FightNews: A while back you and your team were campaigning for a Juan Manuel Marquez showdown, it never materialized. Do you believe politics got in the way? Do you believe a win over Rios will finally lead to the Marquez showdown?
Alvarado: They tell me I was a high risk and low reward for Marquez. I truly do believe its politics. I mean maybe its cause I’m from Colorado, I don’t know but it’s always something. But, hopefully in the near future we can make the fight. This is my time. I deserve this spotlight and on Oct 13th, I aim to keep it.
FightNews: Mike, I notice that you have only fought once in California and that was your 2nd pro bout back in 2004, do you believe that the scoring will be fair, considering Rios being the California-native?
Alvarado: I hope so… I honestly believe I will get a fair shake. I mean we are both world talent fighters and fight for the same promoter, there shouldn’t be any favoritism at all. We will see you never know in this sport but I doubt it goes to the score cards. My plan is to keep it out of the judge’s hands. I’m gunning for the knockout!
FightNews: Most people view this as a true grudge match but my understanding is that your guy’s relationship has been full of respect, with rumors of you guys even training together. Rios has been unusually quiet as of late and he has been known in the past as being quite vocal towards his opposition.
Do you sense any loss in confidence in Rios? Describe your guy’s relationship heading into your mega fight on Oct 13th.
Alvarado: We have a mutual respect, we were brought up together. My trainer knows his trainer from the amateur days. I’m sure his confidence is fine and he has already accomplished a lot in this sport. This is a business and we always knew that this fight might materialize. I know he will be at his best. But, this is my weight class and no fighter will stop me from reaching the top.
FightNews: Describe to the fans, media, and your opponent- Why will you be victorious on Oct 13th?
Alvarado: I will be victorious because I’m bringing all the pain with me, my ups and downs, and my sacrifices to get to this level. This is my time. I w give it my all. This is my life. I’m anxious and ready to go!