MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum believes the seven-round war between light-welterweights Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and Mike Alvarado last Saturday in California is “definitely” the best fight of 2012.
“It was definitely the fight of the year,” Arum said in an interview with Boxing Scene. “How can it not be?”
Rios and Alvarado went toe-to-toe for six-and-a-half rounds, exchanging hard punches with little thought for defense. Though Alvarado attempted to use his long jab in the middle rounds to keep Rios at bay, he kept getting sucked into brawling exchanges.
Neither man could get the upper hand over the course of six rounds, but in the seventh, Rios took the fight out of the judges’ hands when he tagged Alvarado with a right that wobbled him. The referee soon stopped the fight as Rios pounded away.
Arum said the fight was comparable to the “Thrilla in Manila,” the historic third fight of great heavyweights Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, as well as “The War” between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns.
“I put that right up with those fights,” Arum said.
The promoter also believes that Rios-Alvarado was better than the 10-round battle between Jose Luis Castillo and Diego Corrales, which was the Fight of the Year in 2005.
“I really think that it was better than the Corrales-Castillo fight – the last round notwithstanding, which was the most incredible round that you’ve ever seen,” Arum explained.
“With Castillo and Corrales – one guy would win a round and then the other guy would win a round. Here, one guy would win the first minute, then the other guy would win the second minute,” he added.
“You didn’t know how to score the fight.”
When the Rios-Alvarado fight was made, Arum was already expecting the bout to be “tremendous, tremendous fight” and was even worried that it would not live up to the considerable hype.
“This really exceeded what I thought,” Arum said. “These two guys stood in the center of the ring, they didn’t clinch once and they threw every punch they had at each other. And until one guy went down, and the referee stopped the fight, you didn’t know who was going to win.”
“This was really a classic, great fight,” he said.