Like the first Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward fight, last October's meeting between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado managed to exceed the already high standards set for it. For seven pulsating rounds they went hammer and tong and only a curiously timed stoppage by referee Pat Russell was able to stop the torrent of blows.
That controversy, combined with the incredible action that preceded it, made Saturday's second act a natural. Rematches can sometimes live up to the original but they also can suffer by comparison. Which slot will Rios-Alvarado II occupy? Their recent CompuBox histories offer the following clues:
The Ultimate Slugfest: Their October 13 classic was a punch-fest of the highest order. Over six-and-two-thirds rounds Rios averaged 81.4 punches per round but Alvarado more than trumped him by unleashing 117.1 per round -- nearly double the junior welterweight average of 60.4.