Mike Alvarado: Alvarado’s performance against Brandon Rios on Saturday night in Las Vegas was superb. The Coloradan employed a perfect blend of aggression, movement and resilience to win a unanimous decision and avenge a seventh-round knockout loss in their previous fight, which sets up a third meeting in what is now one of the sport’s most-compelling rivalries. Alvarado (34-1, 23 knockouts) battled Rios toe to toe at times, holding his own in most exchanges, but also used his feet to avoid debilitating punishment and frustrate Rios. That adjustment from the first fight was the reason he won on Saturday. In the process, he demonstrated clearly that he’s not only a formidable slugger but also a clever boxer. And the impressive victory over one of the sport’s most-intimidating figures probably will earn him seven figures in Alvarado-Rios III, a clear indication that a star was born.
Brandon Rios: The word loser should not be applied to Rios, who might be the most exciting fighter in the world. However, the fact is he suffered his first loss because he was unable to solve the riddle posed by Alvarado on Saturday. Rios (31-1-1, 23 KOs) knows one way to fight: moving forward and throwing nonstop punches, a formula that has proved too much for all but one opponent. The problem on Saturday was that he needed to adjust in some way to Alvarado’s tactics but was unable to do so. Rios had similar problems against Richar Abril, who some believe deserved the decision when the two fought in April of last year. Rios will never be a great tactician but his skills are solid. You can bet he and trainer Robert Garcia will put their heads together a come up with a game plan that will give him a better chance to cut off the ring. We all look forward to the next installment.
Gennady Golovkin: We shouldn’t read too much into Golovkin’s third-round knockout of Nobuhiro Ishida on Saturday in Monte Carlo. Ishida (24-9-2, 9 KOs) barely won a round in his previous two fights, against Paul Williams and Dmitry Pirog. The fact is he isn’t an elite middleweight. Still, Golovkin’s one-punch stoppage of a recognizable opponent adds to his image as one of the most-devastating punchers in world. No fighter is more intriguing than he is. Now comes a more-significant challenge: Luring another top-tier fighter in or near his weight class into the ring, which is no easy task. Sergio Martinez. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The winner of Saul Alvarez-Austin Trout. Even Daniel Geale or Pirog. Any of the above would do. The point is Golovkin (26-0, 23 KOs) must face someone perceived to be a threat soon. Beating up on second-tier opponents will get old, even for a slugger as exciting as he is.
Tony Bellew(19-1-1, 12 KOs) must be disappointed with his draw against Issac Chilemba (20-1-2, 9 KOs) on Saturday in Liverpool. It was a fight he probably should’ve won, although Chilemba is a very good fighter. However, that type of fight serves as an excellent learning experience. Bellew surely grew as a fighter on Saturday. ÔÇª Terrance Crawford (20-0, 15 KOs) opened some eyes with his dominating 10-round decision over capable Breidis Prescott (26-5, 20 K0s) on the Alvarado-Rios card. That was Crawford’s first scheduled 10-rounder and first fight at 140 pounds. He seems to have all the tools to realize great success. ÔÇª Edwin Rodriguez (23-0, 15 KOs) got the job done in a decision over Ezequiel Maderna (19-1, 13 KOs) on the Golovkin-Ishida card but it was an ugly victory, with Rodriguez throwing wild punches much of the fight. I thought he could’ve won more easily with some discipline. “La Bomba” will fight Denis Grachev (13-1-1, 8 KOs) on July 13 in Monte Carlo. Grachev outpointed Zsolt Erdei (33-1, 18 KOs) on the Golovkin-Ishida card. Erdei, who hadn’t fought in almost two years, fought well in the early rounds but faded.