Going into December of 2012, Brandon Rios was sitting pretty for next spring. He had stopped Mike Alvarado by TKO in October, in a fight that most people had already penciled in for Fight of the Year.
If I had been writing this column then, I would have been buying or selling on Rios as next in line for Manny Pacquiao in the spring.
And I would have been selling, because I was predicting a Juan Manuel Marquez win. Now that Marquez has come through, nobody has any interest in speculating on Pacquiao versus Rios at this time.
But the boxing public is most surely interested in seeing Rios fight somebody again. He has a fearless, all-action style and defensive limitations that guarantee an exciting fight against the right opponents.
And as we saw so dramatically last fall, one of those "right opponents" is Alvarado. The last clash was exactly the type of fight that demands a rematch.
On Dec. 20, The Ring's Lem Satterfield posted a story saying that Bob Arum had confirmed that talks were underway for the rematch to happen on HBO in March.
Now just because Arum says talks are underway for a fight to happen does not mean anybody should hold their breath in giddy anticipation. But this fight makes too much sense not to happen.
The score cards when Rios caught up to Alvarado in the seventh were 57-57 twice and 58-56 for Rios. I had it 58-56 for Alvarado myself. I thought Alvarado was clearly getting the better of it when he managed to keep the fight at middle distance.
Rios inevitably forced the battle into the trenches every round, but even then Alvarado managed to hold his own in the exchanges. I believe the stoppage by the referee was entirely appropriate, but Alvarado would almost surely jump at a chance to put the first loss of his career firmly behind him.
For Rios, the fight makes sense simply because it will give him the opportunity to once more pad his resume for most-exciting fighter of his generation. I have rarely seen a fighter who looks like he is having more fun in a fight.
Against Alvarado in October he looked positively ecstatic. Expect him to sign up for a second go-round if the money makes sense.