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Brandon “Bam-Bam” Rios won his rubber match against “Mile High” Mike Alvarado before a near sell-out crowd of 5,988 at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. But before we finally put into the books one of the best rivalries in the history of boxing, let us look at some of the things we learned from Saturday’s big bout:

Ending Was Anti-Climatic

Most boxing fights that have to be hyped in order to sell. This one was an exception. Brandon Rios and Alvarado were two warriors whose styles were tailor-made for each other. These were two men who had unbreakable wills and innate brutality. Their first two encounters were violence at its best. In October 2012, Rios stopped Alvarado in the 7th round of a Fight of the Year candidate. The two fought again on March 2013 in a similarly brutal rematch which Alvarado won via decision. But instead of an immediate grudge match, they treaded separate paths.

So when the boxing gods finally decided to make Rios-Alvarado a trilogy, the world was expecting a war to end all wars and a potential Fight of the Year candidate in the first month of 2015. There was no way it was going to fail expectations, not especially since this was a crossroads fight for both warriors who were either going forward or going away for good. Everything looked perfect, except the ending.

Over Before it Even Started

As Alvarado tried to put a brave front while being booed by his hometown fans during his post-fight interview with Jim Lampley, he put the blame on poor preparation. Alvarado had a few legal problems in the recent years but his arrest last January 3 on an outstanding felony warrant and possession of a handgun as a felon sealed his doom. Alvarado was simply lifeless inside the ring on Saturday night and looked nowhere the action boxer who thrilled boxing fans in recent years with his “devil may care” attitude in the ring.

Right from the get-go, we knew it was going to be one-sided. While Rios was fully charged, Alvarado was tentative and was uncharacteristically unable to pull the trigger. His body language was that of a walking dead man. It seemed like he wanted to go home even before the fight even started. At 34, Alvarado is no longer the fighter we once knew. He’s lost three straight fights now and before even thinking of fighting again (he said he’s not done yet), he’s got to pick up the pieces in his life first. Before starting another mayhem in the ring, he’s got to stop the chaos in his personal life.

One Last Run

While Alvarado’s run looks to be over, Rios proved that he still deserves another shot at glory. Rios was also struggling as of late, losing to Alvarado and then to Manny Pacquiao in 2013 before getting suspended for a failed drug test. His only fight in 2014 ended in an ugly disqualification but he simply refused to fade with the sunset. At 28, Rios didn’t just win the trilogy with Alvarado on Saturday night, he re-established himself as a player not a gatekeeper in a very deep and talent-laden welterweight class.

Rios looked like he was in the best shape of his career. His trainer Robert Garcia said he prepared like hell for the bout and he unleashed his fury on Alvarado. Rios landed big shot after big shot and threw an uppercut that didn’t seem to miss. He was relentless and determined to move on. Rios probably already sealed his next fight with that very dominating performance. Book Rios against Ruslan Provodnikov, Lucas Matthysse, Timothy Bradley Jr. or even Juan Manuel Marquez next and hordes of boxing fans will pay to watch him again.

Boxing is indeed a two-way sport and on Saturday night we witnessed the rebirth of Brandon Rios and the end of Mike Alvarado. It did end as a trilogy but sadly, we didn’t see the exclamation point that we expected from one of the best rivalries in boxing history.

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