There’s nothing better than a trilogy in boxing and on Saturday, the world will witness one of the most highly anticipated rubber matches in recent memory when Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado face off for the third time.

Big Rivalry

Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and “Mile High” Mike Alvarado became household names because of each other. Their first fight in 2012 was a back and forth toe to toe war that was considered by many boxing experts and fans to be the Fight of The Year. Rios, who has the heavier fists between the two, won the bruising affair via a 7th round TKO. The following year, fans got their wish of an immediate rematch, but the craftier Alvarado decided not to brawl with Rios and instead chose to fight at a distance. His strategy paid off as he was able to come away with a unanimous decision win to even their rivalry.

But instead of a third fight right away, the camps of both fighters decided to separate their paths. Since then, their boxing lives have never been the same. After the Alvarado loss, Rios decided to shoot for the moon when he took on Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao in Macau. Rios lost a lopsided decision and then failed a post-fight drug test that netted a suspension. Rios’ next fight ended in controversy when Diego Chavez was disqualified in the ninth round for foul blows. On the other hand, Alvarado has lost twice since beating Rios. He retired on his stool in the 10th round of his match against Ruslan Provodnikov in a bout where he made the same mistakes as his first fight with Rios. Alvarado then took on Pacquiao nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez, but the aging Mexican proved to be the more technically superior fighter than the much younger Alvarado and won via decision.

Who Takes it

Although this one’s pretty much even as their first two fights, Rios is the slight favorite at -150 while Alvarado the underdog at +130. Both fighters are in a win-now mode and although Alvarado knows he has the advantage fighting at a distance, he will be forced not to leave this one in the hands of the judges. Experts are predicting that this will turn out like the first fight where Rios would cut-off the ring and engage Alvarado in a fierce gun battle. Alvarado is a good counter puncher and also owns a very respectable knockout punch, but if he decides to slug it out, he may be headed to retirement. Alvarado’s focus and mindset could be questionable after he was charged with one count of weapon possession last week. How this affects him come fight night remains a big question.

The fight is important because Rios has won one in his last three fights and Alvarado once in his last four. The loser in this crossroads fight will fall down the ladder of relevance in boxing’s most competitive weight class while the winner will resurrect a career and will be on a shortlist to fight for another world title. With all these at stake and the history between the two, Rios-Alvarado 3 should be better than the first two installments.

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