Junior welterweights Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado know a thing or two about action fights. Both have been in their share of brawls, including their sensational bout against each other in October.
It was a grueling slugfest that Rios won by seventh-round knockout, stopping a dazed Alvarado on his feet in one of the best fight in recent years.
Expectations are sky-high for them to produce another barnburner when they meet for a vacant interim junior welterweight belt Saturday in Las Vegas.
If Rios and Alvarado -- both of whom talk about their love for a tough fight -- are to once again challenge for fight of the year honors, they are going to have to outdo the March 16 dandy between welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. and Ruslan Provodnikov, who threw down in the same Home Depot Center ring in Carson, Calif., where Rios and Alvarado had their first fight.
Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) and Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) are both boxing fans, so they naturally watched Bradley and Provodnikov do their thing.
"I was watching the fight at home. I was almost jumping on the TV watching that fight," Rios said. "It brought back memories. I was like, 'Damn, they are showing the warrior spirit.' They were going at it. Like they said, Bradley came out with a different game plan and he proved that he's a warrior and a fighter."
Bradley won a tight unanimous decision to retain his title, but he was lucky to survive. Provodnikov nearly knocked him out in the first and second rounds, and then dropped him in the final 15 seconds of a highly dramatic fight.
"I thought Bradley got a good opportunity to prove himself, show that heart," Alvarado said. "He was knocked out on his feet pretty much. I thought the referee [Pat Russell] was fair, the more I saw it."
Not only do Rios and Alvarado like to take in a good slugfest, but both have enjoyed watching their own memorable clash multiple times.
"Even today I watched our match," Rios said recently. "I wake up in the morning and when I get back from my run, I watch our fight. After I go to the gym, I watch it. Before I go to bed, I watch it. I am a fan of our fight and I am a fan of that [Bradley-Provodnikov] fight."
Alvarado got stopped, so he's no fan of the conclusion, but he has still watched the bout.
"I have watched our fight a few times," he said. "I remember it like the back of my hand, so I don't have to go over it too much. It is going to be the same kind of fight, with a few adjustments. We are just going to go out there and do it again."