Brandon Rios completely annihilated a barely present Mike Alvarado tonight on Alvarado's home turf, stopping his rival after three rounds in a one-sided demolition, gaining a 2-1 advantage over Alvarado in their three bouts.
Rios (33-2-1, 24 KO) set the tone in round one, busting up Alvarado (34-4, 23 KO) and bloodying the home fighter, landing 29 of 80 total punches compared to a paltry 6/23 for Alvarado. The second round was more of the same, as Rios couldn't miss with anything, mauling Alvarado on the inside with consistent uppercuts. Alvarado's best punch might have been a blatant low blow that bought him a moment of relief from Rios' constant assault.
In the third round, Rios finally dropped Alvarado with another big uppercut. Alvarado was able to get back to his feet and finished the round, but he was pretty clearly done. His corner tried to push him out for the fourth round, but the doctor checked his vision, told Jay Nady that he shouldn't continue, and the referee stopped the bout there, quite mercifully.
"I had to come prepared, because this could have been the end of my career. I have a lot of gas in my tank still, and I didn't want that," Rios told HBO's Jim Lampley.
"I just had to be patient," he added after nine minutes of uninterrupted assault. The fighters embraced at ringside, with Rios saying he loves Alvarado, and considers him a fellow warrior.
"I was sitll getting comfortable, getting into my zone. He caught me with a good uppercut. I couldn't see. My vision was not there," Alvarado said of the loss. "I was looking at my physical condition, and I didn't wanna -- I could've showed heart, but who knows what would have happened after that?"
"I'm not done yet at all. I'm far from being at my best. I'll be back. I guarantee everyone here that I'll be back," he said, and heard some notable boos from his home fans. With a look of pain on his face, Alvarado blamed himself for the performance.
"I wasn't training like I should have. That's what I get! I gotta get back to the drawing board. I'm not at peace with myself, I'm not going to say I did everything I could to win. I didn't do everything I could. That's what I get."
Final punch stats saw Rios land 120 of 290 (41%), and Alvarado just 20 of 87 (23%). It was never competitive, never a true fight. It was a focused and ready Rios dismantling a totally unprepared Alvarado. It was nothing like their first two wars, and it's all on Alvarado.
For Rios, he moves forward to a potential big fight at 147 pounds, with plenty of momentum after this win.