Can we say Gatti-Ward, the next generation? This was the fight that most pundits were predicting as Fight of the Year when the fight was made, and it did not disappoint.
Both fighters came in with a mission in mind.
For Rios, it was to prove that he was this generation's blood-and-guts warrior and that the fight back in April against Richard Abril was just an off night. Alvarado, in the mean time, was looking to become that household name that many were expecting him to be at this point of his career.
Both were coming in undefeated, and were looking to take that next step at Junior Lightweight.
The fight began just as we thought it would be, a war. Alvarado was the busier of the two throughout the first two rounds, making it difficult for Rios to find his rhythm. Rios would start to get a feel of the fight, and by time the fourth round ended, the fight was about even.
Alvarado then began to increase his work load, staggering Rios with a right that could have ended it then. Rios, however, weathered the storm and began to land some huge shots toward the end of the round.
The sixth and seventh rounds saw the same toe-to-toe, wall-to-wall action as the fifth did that was just unheard of. Finally, in the seventh, Rios unleashed a devastating right hook that sent Alvarado into the ropes. After a few unanswered shots, referee Pat Russell jumped in and stopped the war.
There's talk of a rematch happening this March, and if that does happen, we can expect the same type of war that the first one delivered.
And just to think, many people had this as the Fight of the Year. I had it at number two, so number one has to be special, right?