by Eric Raskin
For all the spine-tingling, skull-rattling moments Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado provided while standing inches apart last October for seven insta-classic rounds, arguably the most memorable moment of all came with them positioned some 28 feet apart, seated on stools in their respective corners. After the first round of their junior welterweight brawl, Rios said something in Spanish that was hard to make out but, based on context clues, translated along the lines of “I [bleeping] love this.” And his trainer Robert Garcia responded clearly in English, “I know you [bleeping] love this.”
People who choose to trade punches for a living are wired a little differently than most of us. But even among professional boxers, Rios and Alvarado stand out as having a different kind of blood pumping through their brains. Like Rocky Graziano, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Arturo Gatti, Erik Morales, and the rest of boxing’s all-time elite action fighters, Rios and Alvarado have not just a crazy willingness to get hit, but a sick sense of emptiness if they aren’t taking one to give one.
So as the March 30 date for Rios vs. Alvarado II closes in, let’s sum up the outlook for this highly anticipated rematch in seven words: These guys can’t make a bad fight.