‘Fight Of The Year’ Lives Up To Hype

Read how Mike Alvarado took a surprising TKO to Brandon Rios on Saturday night.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado

"See what happened to Mike Alvarado? I think I can do it to them too." Brandon Rios 10.13.12

The most anticipated brawl of the year delivered on Saturday night when Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios (31-0-1, 22 KOs) stopped the previously unbeaten bruiser Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) inside of 7 rounds in Rios' first bid at 140 lbs.

This fight was proclaimed by many to be "Fight Of The Year" as soon as it was announced, but after witnessing 20 minutes of beautiful brutality, the case was made.

The war started in the very first round as both men exchanged furiously. Alvarado began on the outside behind his jab while he fired off combinations that included a number of thudding straight right hands. Rios scored with hard left hands and shots to the body as Alvarado began to bleed from his nose. Rios started the second by hammering to the body as both men stood toe-to-toe. Alvarado landed a huge uppercut that stunned Rios, but "Bam Bam" shook it off and continued his body assault. The round ended with both men trading monstrous shots in classic phone booth fashion.

Alvarado established a great rhythm in the third with his long jab as Rios moved forward. Rios landed a hard right that was answered with a crushing left hook from Alvarado. It was a good round for Alvarado. In the fourth, Rios ate Alvarado's looping right hand that was setup with his long jab. Rios would leap in but Alvarado made him pay with hard left hooks. As the round came to a close, both men once again landed hard hooks much to the delight of the crowd.

In the fifth, Alvarado began to control the fight as he countered Rios with right crosses and uppercuts. However, much to Rios' credit he never stopped moving forward.  During a sixth round that saw Alvarado controlling the action, Rios got through with the best punch of the fight thus far as he rocked his opponent with a right hand that buckled him. Rios looked like he was running on empty as the seventh round started. Both men traded punches at extremely close range and it seemed as Alvarado was getting the best of Rios until "Bam Bam" landed a bomb halfway through the round.

Alvarado's demise unfolded as Rios rocked Alvarado with another right that sent him into the ropes. Alvarado's eyes crossed as Rios landed another bomb against the ropes. Alvarado looked finished as Rios came in for more until referee Pat Russell jumped in and waved off the fight.

Rios scored a TKO victory in the 7th round.

Many thought the fight was stopped early, but Alvarado sounded classy in defeat.

"He shook me up a little bit, but I thought that it was stopped a little too early,” said Alvarado. “I could have kept going and I would have gotten my head back into it and fought through it. I was surprised. It was only a couple of shots."

The always outspoken Rios was asked about possibly fighting the winner of the Pacquaio/Marquez showdown in December. "See what happened to Mike Alvarado? I think I can do it to them too. Mike Alvarado, I think he hits harder than them." said Rios. "He's tougher. Pacquaio is an in and out guy. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. taught me very well. Break the body, the head will fall down."

"Fight Of The Year"? You've got my vote.

Zachary Hutton is the lead boxing writer and an NFL contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or also subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: Getty

By: Harry How
Collection: Getty Images Sport