Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told ESPN.com that he is working with HBO to make a rubber match between Brandon Rios (32-2-1, 23 KOs) and Mike Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs). The target date is sometime in January 2015.
The pair's first fight in October 2012 was a brutal instant classic. Both fighters landed monster shots during the 7-round war which Rios won via controversial stoppage. Alvarado was still on his feet at the time of the stoppage, but referee Pat Russell felt that he was in no condition to continue receiving punishment.
They met again in March 2013 in another brutal affair which saw both fighters display better boxing skill than in their first fight. Alvarado did a better job of using his footwork and not languishing on the inside. The change in tactics resulted in a narrow unanimous decision win for Alvarado and Rios' first loss as a pro.
Despite losing the rematch, Rios was awarded a November 2013 pay-per-view date with Manny Pacquiao, and ended up being soundly out-boxed en route to a wide unanimous decision loss. Rios got back on the winning track in August with a disqualification victory over Diego Chaves in what was a very sloppy fight.
After avenging his loss to Rios, Alvarado was involved in yet another ring war in October 2013, this time against Ruslan Provodnikov. Though Alvarado won a couple of early rounds with his boxing, Provodnikov's power eventually began to reveal itself, particularly in the form of body punches. After suffering a hellacious beating, Alvarado decided to quit after the tenth round in order to protect his health. Alvarado's May fight against Juan Manuel Marquez wasn't quite as brutal, though Marquez did knock Alvarado down in the eight round. Alvarado returned the favor in the ninth round, knocking Marquez down. Nonetheless, Alvarado lost a wide unanimous decision.
And now, all roads lead the two warriors back to each other. Who do you think wins Rio-Alvarado III?