Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Marotta on why he picked Alvarado over Rios



Last October, then-unbeaten Mike Alvarado was stopped in the seventh round after a bloody, Fight-of-the-Year-caliber clash with an undefeated Brandon Rios. On Saturday, Alvarado avenged that loss by taking Rios’ ‘0’ by unanimous decision at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

Out of 22 experts who were polled by RingTV regarding what would happen in the second bout, Rios (31-1-1, 23 knockouts) was almost unanimously predicted to beat Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs), yet again. Only Rich Marotta, of KFI Radio in Los Angeles, chose Alvarado to be the victor.

In fact, 19 of the 21 insiders who favored Rios figured him to stop Alvarado a second time.

Not Marotta. Here’s what he said before the fight:

Mike Alvarado SD 12 Brandon Rios: Logic tells you that Brandon Rios does it again. The vast majority of first-time winners win again in rematches, and that was a convincing finish first time around.

Judging from all that I am reading and hearing, I’m sure the overwhelming consensus will be Rios. However, I will be a contrarian. I think Mike Alvarado is being sold short.

At the time that first fight ended, it was still anybodys fight. Alvarado will attempt to keep this one at a more measured pace despite what will be relentless pressure by Brandon.

Both fighters are going to get their licks in, but I think this one goes the distance. Alvarado, boxing more, while still engaging, will squeeze out a tight, split decision victory, and then we can have Chapter III.

“Leading up to this fight, I felt Mike was really being underestimated. The prominent impression everyone had from fight one it seemed was just the finish,” said Marotta on the Sunday after the fight.

“Dramatic as it was, there was a lot going on in the six rounds before that finish that pointed to Alvarado being able to do well in a rematch if he just made some minor tweaks in his approach.”

Marotta said Alvarado did just that.

“Instead of standing and slugging, Alvarado fought a more intelligent battle. He showed many different looks to Brandon. Some lateral movement, some leaning in and exchanging at close range, some righty-lefty switch ups, picked his spots for the most violent assaults between the two,” said Marotta.

“And this time tying up Rios if things started to get a little out of hand. Finally, he always came back to step one, which was get at long range and throw the jab, double it, and cross the right. Excellent game-plan, and more important he showed discipline and executed. He still had to walk through hell to win, and he did.”

Alvarado’s effort conjured those of Arturo Gatti in his trilogy against Irish Micky Ward, or Rafael Marquez’s four bouts against Israel Vazquez.

Although Ward was victorious in his first of three bloodbath meetings with the late Gatti in May of 2002, he lost the next two in November of 2002 and June of 2003.

Marquez’s seventh-round knockout dethroned Israel Vazquez as WBC junior featherweight titleholder in their first clash in March 2007. But Vazquez won the next two times by sixth-round stoppage and split-decision in August of 2007 and March of 2008.

Marquez evened their series at 2-2 after 28 rounds, however, as their fourth meeting ended with a third-round stoppage in May of 2010.

What does Marotta think will happen in a third bout between Alvarado and Rios.

“Flip a coin on the outcome,” said Marotta. “If the two fight again, I feel it will be another distance fight.”

Read more:

Repeat or Revenge: Experts pick on Rios-Alvarado II

Rios-Alvarado draws Gatti-Ward parallels

Rios-Alvarado II: Live round-by-round updates

Photo gallery: Rios vs. Alvarado II

Alvarado beats Rios in rematch, but fans should wait for third bout

Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]