Entries in Mike Alvarado (27)
by Kieran Mulvaney
Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios - Photo Credit: Will Hart
All kinds of prognosticators are weighing in on this week's fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios. Many say that Pacquiao, the favorite, possesses a skill set that will simply outclass Rios. Others counter that Rios was built to absorb punishment, and that Pacquiao may still be haunted by the crushing punch that knocked him out against Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
But what do the real experts think? Here's how a selection of past and present fighters see the bout shaping up.
Terence Crawford (lightweight contender):
I've got to go with Pacquiao. Because Rios, he's going to take a lot of punishment coming in.
Ruslan Provodnikov (junior welterweight title holder):
To be honest with you, strategically, politically, it would be good for me if Brandon Rios won the fight. But I'm going to be rooting for Manny Pacquiao. I spent two months with him in training camp. We're very close. He's a great, great person, and I think that he will come back after his last fight, and he has still has a good amount of time left.
Mike Alvarado (junior welterweight contender, Rios opponent):
That's a really good fight. Rios is going to push Pacquiao. He's going to make him adjust. I want Rios to win that fight, so when our trilogy happens it's like, "Hey, he just beat Pacquiao." But I don't know. I don't think he's going to beat Pacquiao. I laid out the blueprint for how to beat Rios. Pacquiao's going to be like, "I can box, I can move, I hit hard." But then again, we're waiting to see how Pacquiao recovers after losing to Marquez. That was a punishing blow; it might have a big effect on his career. We'll see.
Nonito Donaire (featherweight contender and former three-weight title holder):
If Pacquiao can return to a Pacquiao with focus, he'll overwhelm Rios with power and speed. But if he goes in with a shadow of a doubt in his mind after what happened to him in his previous fight, then Rios can overwhelm him with intensity and pressure. But I think that Pacquiao has the best chance of winning this fight, if he even gets just 50 percent of his focus back.
George Foreman (former two-time heavyweight champion):
I think it's going to be a 12-round decision and I give Pacquiao the hometown decision. How about a home-region decision.
Sugar Ray Leonard (former five-weight world champion):
I think Pacquiao will win although I give Rios a shot, a big shot. It's not going to be an easy fight. I'm picking Manny because he is Manny Pacquiao.
Timothy Bradley (welterweight title holder):
I've got Manny Pacquiao by a mid to late round KO. Eight rounds.
Marco Antonio Barrera (former three-weight title holder):
I think it is a complicated fight for both of them. You have Brandon Rios who comes straightforward and will apply the pressure on Manny. Then you have Manny who moves around the ring very well and picks and chooses his spots and comes at different angles and is a very strong fighter with a lot of speed. It's just going to be a tough fight for both of them.
by Kieran Mulvaney
Before Saturday night, Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov had staked rival claims to the Fight of the Year. But now they have joint ownership in a new contender for that honor, following a battle that was every bit as absorbing, skillful and downright brutal as had been predicted, and which ended when Alvarado, no longer able to resist the Russian's relentless aggression, yielded in his corner at the end of the tenth round. With the victory, Provodnikov has a junior welterweight belt and a world of possibilities.
When we last saw Provodnikov (23-2 with 16 KOs), in mid-March, he nearly knocked out Timothy Bradley on more than one occasion before falling short in a points decision. Two weeks later, Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs) boxed and fought his way to a revenge victory over Brandon Rios, who had issued him his first professional defeat the previous October. Both fights had been compelling, but given these two fighters' styles and commitment to combat, there was genuine optimism that this meeting could match them both. And with the very first action of the very first round, it began to live up to that billing.
Boxing fans from across the country offer their insight and analysis as we head into Saturday's slugfest.
by Hamilton Nolan
Micky Ward is an exceptionally soft-spoken man for someone whose fame was earned through punching and bleeding. After a screening this week of 'Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward,' a documentary devoted to his most brutal battles (airing Saturday night on HBO following World Championship Boxing: Alvarado vs. Provodnikov), Ward stepped to a podium in HBO’s headquarters and remembered his opponent in those three historic fights, Arturo Gatti, as a friend. “We had so many memories,” Ward said. “Good, and, obviously, bad at the end.” Gatti himself was not soft-spoken at all. But he was not there to say his piece.
Over a period of just 13 months in 2002 and 2003, Ward and Gatti engaged in three boxing matches that came, rather unexpectedly, to define both of their careers. Had they never met, Ward would have retired as a respected journeyman, just another tough, straightforward Irish fighter out of Massachusetts; Gatti would have had his own flashy and varied career like many other highly-touted Jersey showoffs. Together, however, they each found someone similar enough to themselves to create a situation like two stubborn mountain goats trying to pass each other on a rocky path only big enough for one of them. They butted heads for thirty rounds.
Ward won the classic first fight, in which Gatti got up from a devastating ninth round body shot to finish. Gatti took the second fight, in which Ward shattered his eardrum and lost his equilibrium yet pushed on to the end. And Gatti won the tiebreaking third fight, even though he broke his right hand early on. Each man suffered immensely. Each man instantly came to be defined by these fights, to the near-exclusion of the rest of their careers. “It was the greatest, most dramatic trilogy in the history of boxing,” said Lou DiBella, Ward’s promoter. “They became blood brothers.”
It is the friendship of the two men that shines through most in the film. They came to be like Army buddies, brought together forever by war. In their case, the war was with one another. Yet they grew so close by pushing each other to the edge that after Ward retired, he briefly became Gatti’s trainer. “When I beat him at the racetrack, he wouldn’t talk to me,” Ward recalled with a smile. “He wanted to go home.”
For all of Gatti’s flash inside and outside of the ring--and for all of his wild nights and partying, which were legendary--he comes off as a man equally decent as the humble Ward. Their story, of course, is shadowed by Gatti’s death in 2009 in Brazil (ruled a suicide, though significant skepticism still exists among Gatti’s friends and family, who plausibly believe he was murdered). Their parable seems deceptively simple on its surface: the humble man lived, the wild man died. But that’s not it at all. Gatti and Ward were far more alike than they were different. “He had a wild side, but who doesn’t?” Ward said of Gatti. “Whoever says they don’t, they’re lying.”
More than anything else, both men represent the iron will of a harsh sport--the will not to win, but to fight to the end, no matter the cost. Their fights, and their suffering, stand as a testament to what is possible.