Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado to meet in rubber match on Jan. 24 in Denver

Kevin Iole
Boxing
LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 30: (R-L) Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado trade punches in their WBO interim junior welterweight championship bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on March 30, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

Brandon Rios v Mike Alvarado

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 30: (R-L) Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado trade punches in their WBO interim junior welterweight championship bout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on March 30, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado have already put on two sensational bouts. On Jan. 24 in Denver, they'll fight in front of an HBO audience to break the tie when they square off in a rubber match.

Rios stopped Alvarado on Oct. 13, 2012, in the seventh round of a scheduled 10-rounder in Carson, Calif. That bout was one of 2012's best matches and earned a significant amount of praise as the Fight of the Year.

Alvarado turned the tables in the rematch, winning a 12-round unanimous decision on March 30, 2013, in Las Vegas.

Mike Alvarado (R) desperately needs a win as he goes into his Jan. 24 rubber match in Denver against Brandon Rios (L). (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)
Mike Alvarado (R) desperately needs a win as he goes into his Jan. 24 rubber match in Denver against Brandon Rios (L). (Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

They'll meet again next year over 12 rounds at a maximum weight of 147 with much at stake for each man. 

After Rios' loss to Alvarado, he was blown out by Manny Pacquiao in Macau, China, on Nov. 24, 2013, before returning to win by disqualification over Diego Chaves on Aug. 2 in Las Vegas.

Alvarado enters the bout on a two-fight losing streak and having dropped three of his past four. After beating Rios, he was stopped by Ruslan Provodnikov in another sensational fight on Oct. 19, 2013, and then lost a wide decision to Juan Manuel Marquez on May 17 in Inglewood, Calif.

Rios turned the first fight into a brawl and hurt Alvarado with some big punches. In the rematch, the action was still intense, but Alvarado worked his jab more and resisted the urge to stand in front of Rios and trade.

But if the third bout is anything like the first two -- and odds are that it will be, given the stakes and their styles -- they could wind up in the conversation as having one of the greatest trilogies in boxing history.

 

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