By James Slater: As fans may well have read, a cracking doubleheader will go down at The Home Depot Centre in Carson, CA on October 13th (HBO to televise) – as pound-for-pound standout Nonito Donaire will face the dangerous and talented Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan and unbeaten duo Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado will clash in what many expect will be a FOTY candidate.
Filipino star Donaire, 29-1(18) could be taking his riskiest fight yet against Nishioka, 39-4-3(24) , while the supporting feature really does look like another special match-up.
Rios, unbeaten at 30-0-1(22) will be making his 140-pound debut, unable as he has been for some time to make lightweight, and he sure could have picked an easier fighter to move up against. Lucky last time out against Richard Abril, who most fans felt beat the former WBA 135-pound champ (the title was vacant due to Rios not making weight, with Abril alone being able to win the belt), Rios will have to turn in a far better performance against the big, strong, all-action Alvarado.
Alvarado is the older man by six years at age 32, yet he seems to be at or around his peak, while some fans feel “Bam Bam” might just be slightly past his very best already. If so, he could be in trouble. “Mile High,” as Alvarado is known is 33-0(23) and he is also taller and has a longer reach than Rios. The warrior from Colorado told Ring.tv.com that he respects Rios as a warrior who is very tough, but he expects to be too strong for him come October 13th, feeling he will get a stoppage around the 7th. Rios had better hope he’s not as slow, sluggish and easy to hit as he was in his last couple of fights (also struggling for a few rounds with Britain’s John Murray, in his fight before his gift of a win over Abril.)
Will the new weight suit Rios? With his aggressive style, Rios will either be more powerful up at 140, or he will find out that his punches have less of an effect on bigger men like Alvarado, while at the same time the other guy’s shots have more of an effect on him. Neither guy will look to take a backward step in October, and I feel this will suit Alvardo better than it will Rios.
The action promises to be savage and memorable, but I have to agree with Alvardo; who has already given us two classics, with his wins over Breidis Prescott and, last time out, Mauricio Herrera. I think the naturally bigger, possibly stronger man will win, either on points or maybe by late stoppage. Donaire-Nishioka could be more of a chess-match, although this fight too could be a war – but it’s the chief support that looks like the show-stealer.