DSH Weekly Boxing Notebook: Rios v. Alvarado 3, Victor Ortiz returns, and Tim Bradley v. Diego Chavez

December 11, 2014

Our latest version of The Daily Sports Herald's Weekly Boxing Notebook features the announcement of a potentially classic trilogy bout, and the return of some big name fighters who will be performing at two separate and exciting fight cards in Las Vegas this weekend.  Take a look:

Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios announce third bout

This week former champions Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios elected to continue their exciting rivalry, agreeing to meet for a third time in a 12-rounder on January 24 at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado.  The vacant WBO International welterweight championship will be on the line and the fight will be televised by HBO.  

"This is going to be like our wars in fight no. 1 and fight no. 2.  We are two warriors. We will go into the middle of the ring and mix it up. For me, all of this is for one thing -- redemption," said Alvarado.

Boasting a combined record of 66-5-1 (45 KOs) -- a winning percentage of 92% and a victory by knockout ratio of 68% --  each warrior owns a victory in the series.  In fact, each fight in this rivalry has been a Fight of the Year candidate (2012 and 2013).

"If Alvarado wants to go the center of the ring and trade, he will feel my power right away," responded Rios. "A few of my big punches and he will change his game plan. That's when I hunt him down, win the fight."

Both prior fights have been action-packed, fan friendly battles, with Rios knocking out Alvarado in the first bout in a genuine slugfest, and Alvarado choosing to box and win a points decision in the second fight.

Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs) of Denver, had won 10 of his last 14 bouts by stoppage en route to his rematch victory over Rios, on March 30, 2013, which not only avenged Alvarado's loss to Rios in 2012's Fight of the Year, but also made Alvarado a world champion.  Alvarado had lost to Rios on October 13, 2012, via a seventh-round technical knockout.

Notable Alvarado knockout victims have included Breidis Prescott, Ray Narh, Emmanuel Clottey and Cesar Bazan.  Alvarado returns to the ring after losing a unanimous decision to Mexican icon and  Juan Manuel Marquez last May 17.

Rios (32-2-1, 22 KOs), the former WBA lightweight champion, is on the hunt for his second world title in as many weight divisions. Thirteen of his last 17 victories have come by way of knockout.  Highlight knockout victories on Rios’ resume include Miguel Acosta, Anthony Peterson, Urbano Antillon, John Murray and Mike Alvarado.

After losing a unanimous decision to Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao, on November 24, 2013, Rios returned to the winner's circle in his last fight, on August 2, winning a gritty, foul-filled battle against former interim world welterweight champion Diego Chaves, via a ninth-round disqualification.

Tim Bradley returns to the ring against Diego Chaves

Since losing a lopsided decision to superstar Manny Pacquiao, Tim Bradley has taken his time to recover physically and mentally before returning to the ring.  Now healed on both fronts, Bradley will be fighting this weekend against rugged -- some might say dirty -- Diego Chaves of Argentina.

Bradley has had a busy few weeks leading up to fight, as he has changed his famous vegan diet and has even received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars, in his hometown.

Here are some of Bradley's recent comments to the media on a variety of subjects:

On his upcoming opponent this Saturday, Diego Chavez:

"Chaves in the ring changes so much.  He has speed, steps in, gets out, can double up with his left hand.  He has a complete arsenal."

“Will he get dirty?  I think so particularly when we get close to each other.  I have no problem with whatever he brings. I like to brawl and actually look forward to doing it."

"He is a dirty fighter.  In the beginning I did think he was but then I went back and watched some film on him and he is a really dirty fighter.  Throwing elbows and trying to scrape the eyes, rake the eyes with his gloves.  Pushing down on the head.  He has a lot of dirty tactics.  But guess what?  He hates being hit to the body.  So when I get close on him I expect the roughhouse tactics.  Hopefully we have a great ref in there that is going to take control, warn both fighters and keep control of the action.  I am ready for that dirty stuff and I have some dirty tricks of my own and everybody knows what it is, so bring it."

"He's a tough guy yes, but not as mean as Ruslan Provodnikov."

"I learned a lot from Manny Pacquiao – I learned not to beat myself in the ring and not to be someone that I am not in there.  For this fight I am going back to the drawing board, to what got me to the top.  My boxing ability, my speed and using my thinking cap in the ring."

On abandoning his vegan diet:

"Everyone is wondering if I am on the vegan diet and no I am not on the vegan diet for this fight.  I am actually eating fish and eating meat and I feel fantastic.  I think it should be better – I think I’ll be better off."

"I have a lot of energy on that [vegan] diet and I am able to lose weight easy on that diet.  I enjoy the diet - it is really clean living.  I did get injured in numerous fights, especially with Pacquiao, tore my calf muscle.  I started doing some research and I thought maybe I didn’t get enough protein because the only protein I consumed was plant-based protein."

"I needed to find a way to get more protein and the best way is to eat clean meats and fish and my vegetables as well.  I am still eating the vegetables but adding a little bit of protein – chicken, fish, and once a week steak to get some B-12 in me so I don’t have to do any injections or anything like that.  When I am vegan I have to get injections constantly of B-12 and I was sick of that."

"I have been training three months for this fight and I don’t feel like I have had a low point yet.  Sometime when I am vegan I can feel a low point in my training – the energy is always there but I feel like I am tearing down."

"I feel like I gain more muscle [with meat], but it is a little harder to drop the pounds.  I will be weighing about 152 pounds tomorrow.  Today I weighed about 153.  I am consuming more protein because we care about it more now with strength work and interval training, sparring rounds and getting hit on.  My muscles need the protein to be able to repair, along with sleep."

On who would win the fabled Pacquiao-Mayweather bout:

"Do I think the fight will happen?  I think the fight should happen.  I don’t know if the fight will happen.  Right now is the perfect time because after Pacquiao’s fight with Marquez, the fight with Mayweather kind of went down but now Pacquiao is coming off two great wins, actually three great wins, with myself included.  I think he has redeemed himself – he beat two undefeated champions this year, myself and Chris Algieri -- and Brandon Rios last year."

"Manny is definitely a big threat in the sport still, still a top dog and I think he will be a threat to Mayweather, I honestly do.  I think he can clip Mayweather.  I think it’s a 50/50 fight and I think it should happen.  We have to wait and see if they can put it together.  I think it makes sense.  I think the fight does over three million pay-per-view pay-per-view buys and it’s the fight that everybody wants to see and I think its great for boxing."

Bradley's thoughts on his fights with Manny Pacquiao:

"I went in there [the second fight] with the mindset that I had to knock this guy out in order to win and having that type of mindset threw me off my game.  The plan was to outbox Pacquiao and everybody knew it and Pacquiao himself knew it and I didn’t do that.  I went straight at him and attacked him.  I did have some success attacking him, but I think I could have done a lot better if I took my time and tried to outbox him and if it goes to a decision and I lose then that’s fine."

"If I stayed true to my form and my abilities and did what got me to the top I should have been alright in that ring and been OK.  But I didn’t do that and got a little out of my context of what I do."

"Manny Pacquiao is one true fighter.  He is one of the greats and he will be remembered for a long time.  He is a living legend and a fantastic person in and out of the ring.  He’s a great fighter and much respect to him and his team."

On his next opponent after Chavez:

"There are a lot of options out there.  Many Pacquiao is talking about going back down to 140, so his welterweight title may be vacant and maybe Marquez would want to fight again to get that fifth title."

On his speech at the boxing writers dinner last year regarding the Cold War between boxing promoters:

"It seemed as though no one else had the balls or decency to say it.  Maybe that helped.  Maybe everyone thought about it.  We were in the same room conversing and buddy, buddy.  But behind closed doors we are all slamming everybody and putting everybody down.  I thought what I did was great and if it helped in any way that is fantastic."

"The fact that Top Rank and Golden Boy have put a couple of shows together this year and I’m sure many other shows next year.  I think it’s great for the fans and for the sport of boxing.  We need to start putting the best fights possible together.  The fans are getting tired of it.  I don’t know if you see it, but pay-per-view is not what it used to be and the fans are catching on and they are not buying like they used to.  Some of the best fighters in the world can’t hit one million buys any more.  The best fighters have to fight the best in order to get those numbers."

"People love boxing and they want to see the best fights.  If it helped that’s great and if I pissed anybody off, that’s great too."

Erislandy Lara looks to bounce back from controversial Canelo loss 

Erislandy Lara has had his fair share of drama since leaving Cuba and turning professional.  A talented and slick southpaw with excellent boxing skills, Lara has had trouble getting top opponents to fight him, and on those occasions when he has landed big fights, controversy has sometimes followed.

“People make excuses [for not wanting to fight me]," said Lara.  "It has a lot to do with my style. I’m a crafty fighter but I can also punch. I look at it as excuses. Look at my record, look at all the styles I have fought. In 23 fights, there is not one guy in the sport who has fought all the guys that I have fought. I have fought [Carlos] Molina, Paul Williams, Alfredo Angulo, Canelo [Alvarez], [Austin] Trout. That’s six top 10 guys in 23 fights. Not even Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao have fought that type of opposition in 23 fights."

Lara will be fighting Ishe Smith next in a bout he hopes will springboard him back into contention for another large payday.

“I just want to fight the best," said Lara.  "I want to fight Floyd Mayweather. I want to fight [Miguel] Cotto. If Canelo dares to do it again, I’ll beat him again. I’m not afraid of fighting anyone. I’ll fight the best. Look at my record, it speaks for itself.”

Undoubtedly, the Canelo loss, via a decision, clearly eats at him.  Fortunately, it seems that Lara has used the bout as a learning experience.

“You take an experience from every fight," said Lara.  "I think there is no question I won over seven rounds of the fight [against Canelo]. If you want to give Canelo some of the rounds I wasn’t punching, that’s no problem, but you are not going to tell me I wasn’t punching and that he beat me in seven of the rounds. That’s crazy."

Victor Ortiz jumps away from the movie set to resume his boxing career

Once deemed an improving boxer-puncher with enough upside to land a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Victor Ortiz's boxing career has steadily declined.

A knockout loss from a legal Mayweather sucker punch (after Ortiz initially fouled Mayweather with a head butt), followed by a loss to Josesito Lopez in which Ortiz sustained a broken jaw, put Ortiz out of the ring for over a year.  His comeback bout against Luis Collazo resulted in another knockout loss that seemed to eradicate any hopes of another title shot.

The setbacks caused Ortiz to seek other opportunities, and soon he landed film roles in Hollywood.

Still, the itch to get back into the ring never left Ortiz completely, and this Saturday he will resume his boxing career on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Devon Alexander bout.

Here are some of Ortiz's thoughts about his career when he recently met with the media:

"I have been in training camp for the last 12 weeks now. There are some changes, but I have an open mind to whatever Coach Joel Diaz has to say. I am not fond of the place or the spot [Indio], but its training camp. I think in the next couple weeks we will see what I have been up to."

"I never left [the welterweight division]. It is still as deep and talented a weight class as it has ever been. You have great fighters, from the guys that I have been beaten by - [Josesito] Lopez, [Marcos] Maidana, [Floyd] Mayweather. They are hot themselves so I am just here once again to box."

"Do I have to box? Absolutely not. I have been told by a lot of people to hang it up, but I make my own decisions and, at the end of the day, I am going to keep boxing. It is what I love to do."

"One important thing that was brought up was that I don't have to box ever again because of my movies.  That's true - I don't have to box again. But that's not where I stand. I want to be one of the greats, I want to be the pound for pound king and I know what it takes to get there. At this point in time I have put two films aside just to fight and I'll be back in the ring Dec. 13 to show you what I've been working on."

"I'm going to be world champion again. I am also going to keep chasing an Oscar [Academy Award], just so I can really pick at the crowd and let them know what it's like to be in my shoes and let them know what I have fun doing."

"I am not going to go out there looking for a knock out because that's pretty dangerous. We saw the last fight [loss to Luis Collazo], it is what it is. I will go round by round and see how it goes."

"I am going to be the pound for pound world champion, there is no doubt in my mind. I will be one of the greats like Floyd [Mayweather] or a [Julio Cesar] Chavez one day, I just don't know when."

"I never lost any confidence in myself. I took a little detour, I went off into a different world and was quite successful at it, but at this point in time I want my world back.  And that's boxing."

Steve Cunningham's daughter has successful heart transplant surgery

One story that has captivated fans outside of the ring has been that of Kennedy Cunningham, the young daughter of veteran fighter Steve "USS" Cunningham.

Recently at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, the heavyweight contender and former cruiserweight champion and his wife Livvy were overjoyed to receive the news that their 9-year-old daughter's heart transplant surgery was a success.

Prior to her operation, the fearless Kennedy said, "When the clock says it's about to be fight time, you need to pack up and go. It's about to be fight time right now."

Following the surgery, Dr. Victor Morell reported that the heart was placed and beating. About an hour and a half later Dr. Morell confirmed the surgery went well and the risk factors they were concerned with ended up not being issues at all.

Steve and Livvy issued this statement, "We are so happy to share that early this morning our daughter Kennedy received the gift of life. She received her new heart and is doing very well. This day is so very special to us and the promise of a better and longer life for our daughter trumps any victory boxing could ever give us. This is the ultimate championship right here. We would like to thank everyone for their continued prayers and support. And most importantly we send our sincere condolences to the donor family that through their extraordinary selflessness made this day possible for our daughter. We are forever grateful!"

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com

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