With the highly-anticipated fight card just nine days away, the boxing world's attention is shifting heavily to the Donaire-Nishioka and Rios-Alvarado fights that will air on HBO Boxing After Dark on October 13 from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, and the fighters are doing the heavy media rounds and talking up the bouts.
As good a main event as Donaire-Nishioka is, the co-feature fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado has boxing fans all over the world drooling over what could -- and many will argue should -- be the Fight of the Year for 2012 if all goes well. Two of the sport's best, toughest, and downright nastiest fighters will collide in this junior welterweight brawl, which has promised blood and guts since the moment it was signed.
Rios joined Tha Boxing Voice podcast this evening to discuss the fight, and had plenty to say about his opponent, the fight, the expectations, and questions about his weight and fighting style.
Expectations, of course, are huge. And Rios knows that, but says he's feeling no extra pressure to provide the fight that the fans expect, because it's just what naturally comes out of him in the ring.
"I don't feel no pressure at all. I go in there and do what I do best, that's fight. I love to fight, this is why I'm in the sport, this is why I'm in the business. I love what I do. If he fights the way he's been fighting, and I fight the way I've been fighting, the fans are going to love it. There might even be a rematch. You never know."
When asked about the possibility of it being a Gatti-Ward type of rivalry, Rios wouldn't commit to those very lofty standards, but did say that the only way he sees this fight disappointing is if Alvarado goes through on some of his talk to try boxing more than brawling, somewhat daring Alvarado to go toe-to-toe in the process.
"It could. The way I've seen him on his videos, he comes to fight. If he chooses not to, it could be a disappointment to everybody. But I'm not going to disappoint my fans. What I do best is fight and give the fans what they want. If he feels like he needs to do something different, because he's not very sure of himself with brawling techniques, he'll do what he's got to do."
Rios also noted that he's heard talk of fighters boxing him before, and that usually, they're drawn into a brawl anyway.
"Well, a lot of people say that they'll try to fight me on the outside. They end up fighting me. If he tries to box me, it's all good by me, I'll go in there and do what I do. ... I'm ready to fight the way I fight, bring it like I always do, 100%."
As for a prediction, Rios was blunt and to the point, like always.
"It's not going the full distance. I'm determined to go for a knockout. I'm shooting for a knockout. That's the way I feel right now, that's how confident I am. That's how very sure I am about the way my preparation's been, the way my condition is, the way I've been training for this fight. I'm going for the knockout."
On mentally preparing for a fight like this:
"First of all, you gotta love what you do. I love to fight, like I said. When I get hit, and I get hit with a good shot, I smile back, because I loved it. That was a badass shot you gave me. I love what I do. I'm ready mentally. Right when they say, you're gonna fight this guy, I'm hyped up already. I'm ready to fight and show the world what I can do. I'm already mentally prepared. The only thing to do is get physically prepared, that's train your ass off, make sure you have the conditioning to go round after round, punch after punch. Me and Mike, I'm sure we're gonna be throwing lots of bombs, lots punches. It's not gonna be pitty-pat. There's gonna be lots of bombs in there."
"I've trained for this fight, throwing nothing but bombs and hard shots. Everything I throw is hard. I'm mentally ready. I can't wait to get hit by Mike Alvarado. Everybody's saying he hits really hard."
"It's one of those things that, you hit me, oh man, I loved it. It's like, you got me. You hit me, you got me with that shot, but it's all good, I'll be coming with mine. Don't worry. ... It's like a love shot for me. You hit me hard and I smile, because you hit me pretty good."
On picking a top opponent for his move to 140 pounds:
"It all comes back down to, I love what I do. I love to fight. I want the toughest guy out there because if I get beat, I don't wanna get beat by someone who was simple or easy, they forget about it the next. I want a guy who's gonna go out there and whoop my ass. Hit me hard like I'm gonna hit them hard. I want a tough guy who can take the punch and throw the punch back. That's why I keep picking out these big fights and hard fights. Mike Alvarado fits the position very well. I wanna show the fans that they get what they pay for when they see me fight. A guy that comes to fight, and gives the fans what they want."
"I'm freaking happy they gave me the baddest motherfucker. I told Robert (Garcia) right away, give me the toughest motherfucker (at 140). I don't regret it. I'd still do it today. I'll still do it tomorrow again. I'll say the same shit again. I got it, I want it, I shall receive it."
On weight issues and criticisms:
"I was a natural 140 pounder that could make 135. I hit very hard. So when I get in that ring at 140, his power don't have no advantage over my power. I can take his punch, like I'm pretty sure he can take my punch, hopefully. If not, fuck it, it's an easy night for me. ... I think I can still smile at a heavyweight and say, 'That's all you got?' ... Now I'm gonna be fighting at 140, I'm gonna feel great, my power's gonna be with me. I'm gonna hit like a heavyweight and everybody's gonna see it."
"It doesn't bother me. Because you know what, the last two fights, I grew out of the division. It was hard for me to make 135. I shouldn't have been in that category. It was my fault. I put the blame on myself. I gave them a reason to talk shit about me. I'm ready to fight. The critics can talk about my weight all they want, it doesn't bother me. As long as I know I'm ready to fight, I'm ready to fight."
On whether he plans to adapt his style and box more in the future:
"I could, but that's not my style. I love to fight. I can do it for maybe 20 seconds of the fight, but then I go back into what I love to do best, and that's to fight. Why risk me getting caught myself doing something I shouldn't be doing? I stick to what I do best. I've got great defense. My defense is my offense. When I'm inside, I do great work. I block very well. People don't give me credit for my blocking, my defense. I'll show everybody what's gonna happen when they see the way I fight Mike Alvarado."
On putting his foot down next time he's asked to stay at a weight for one more fight:
"Now I have to watch out for my health, so my last fight was horrible. I didn't like the way I performed in it. Now at 140, if I can't make it, I'm going to 147. That's it. If they say you've gotta stay and fight this next guy -- they said that at 135. If i need to move up and compete against bigger and better guys, I'll go to 147 and fight some big names there."
On fighting for a world title after the Alvarado bout:
"It's a WBO eliminator, so why not go after it after the fight? You deserve it. The winner deserves to fight the champion. The only way the winner don't fight the champion is if the champion don't want to fight or moves up. After, I would love to go right away into it. Why wait? Why dick around and everything? Just jump right into it."