Rios vs Alvarado: Picks and predictions from the Bad Left Hook staff

Chris Farina/Top Rank

Who wins tomorrow night's HBO matchup between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado? The Bad Left Hook staffers weigh in.

Ryan Bivins

Between the two of them I think Rios has the superior boxing skills and is much more experienced against quality opposition. Honestly anyone that's been a pro as long as Alvarado with such a pristine record against such limited opposition is suspect. I figure he'll still be too big, strong, and durable for Rios to take out but he isn't going to win a majority of the rounds. I trust Rios will be able to get through the few rough spots in the fight where Alvarado turns up the heat. On the other hand, an upset obviously wouldn't surprise me. Alvarado has a lot of power and Rios has enough power that his combination punching is going to break any 140lber down that stands squared up in front of him. Brandon Rios UD-10

Brent Brookhouse

I like Rios a ton (in the ring, anyway) but he's going to be moving up in weight and worry that his power isn't going to move up with him. Knowing that he's going to probably be right up against Alvarado all fight and trusting Alvarado's power more in this fight, I just lean toward Mike to wear Rios down more than vice versa. It's going to be violent and it's going to be awesome but I think Alvarado wins by stoppage somewhere around round seven.

Scott Christ

Brandon Rios might be the sport's top action star, and he does very well when in against like-minded foes. Urbano Antillon and John Murray were both overpowered by his relentless physicality. But Mike Alvarado is a legit junior welterweight, not a lightweight, and it remains to be seen how well Rios will take the move up in weight. It also remains to be seen how Alvarado does against someone who can really bang inside -- he's been busted up by the likes of Breidis Prescott, a solid fighter to be sure, but not a Brandon Rios. It's a very, very interesting matchup, I think, even beyond its bloodbath potential. No outcome would really surprise me, but I'm going with Alvarado. It feels like Rios is overdue for a loss, not because he isn't good, but because he fights the way he does, and this is a serious and strong opponent. Alvarado TKO-9

Tom Craze

At the end of a week or so where much of the talk has been of the merits of that last great action fighter, Arturo Gatti, we have a fight that, if all goes to script, he would have been proud of.

Rios-Alvarado is a fight that's as easy to throw clichés at as it would be simply to sit back and watch unravel without picking a winner, but then, there's only so long you can skirt the issue with introductory sentences like these, and I've changed my prediction enough in the last ten minutes already. It's also a fight where no particular outcome, no specific prediction from any manner of pundit, would surprise me. This could wind up being anything, and I'm as torn about how long it'll last as I am about who'll end up winning it. Here's the thing: I don't think there's really a correlation between the two. It doesn't appear to be the case that the deeper into the rounds it goes, the more it'll favour one guy or the other.

Whoever wins this emerges with enormous credit, but I'm expecting a big performance from Rios - I think he knows he needs to deliver one, and masochistic tendencies can clearly take you a long way as a prizefighter. Alvarado doesn't know how to quit and is every bit the wrecking ball Rios is, but I'll take the latter to emerge with his hand raised, just, and possibly still in one piece, too. Rios SD-10

Kory Kitchen

Obviously, this will be a war. Both guys are favorites, and neither takes a backward step. I do think Rios will be a bit more comfortable at 140 pounds. He was painfully drained at 135, and it was ridiculous that he kept trying to make it. Therefore, I like Rios to win here. I think it will be bloody and brutal, but I feel that he is the better all-around fighter. Something that Rios used to show was solid defense to go along with the pressure. Nothing would surprise me, but I think Rios will outduel Alvarado in a special fight. Rios by late stoppage

Final Tally: Brandon Rios 3, Mike Alvarado 2

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