What it comes down to is we are just two warriors who want to be the best and that is why we give our best inside the ropes all the time.
When I first signed to fight Mike Alvarado last year, I knew that it would a very exciting fight for the fans. With the way we fight it could not go any other way. Boxing might be a science to some but to me it is about passion, heart and courage. It’s about giving the fans what they want — a battle of wills and brawn.
Coming up from lightweight to fight one of the best super lightweights in the world seemed to me a good way to test myself in the ring. Many people felt I would be too small to take on a guy like Mike Alvarado, who is a big guy and fought his whole career at 140 pounds.
But I knew that after struggling at 135 pounds for almost a year I would be just as big as him on fight night. I knew I would be just as strong as he would be and that I had the chin and will to take his best shots and would be able to dish out some pain of my own.
I was excited about the fight because I knew Mike would come to fight just like me and wanted to take my head off, and so did I. This fight was not about strategies, it was about strength, willpower and the ability to withstand pain and keep going.
And as soon as the fight started we both got after it and never stopped. I took his shots, he took most of mine and the fight went back and forth for seven rounds until I hurt him enough to make the referee stop the fight. It was a short fight in the books, but a long fight inside the ring.
Now as we ready to go again. I don’t see what can be so different. He will probably try to stay away and use his distance early, but sooner or later he will stop and trade and we will be in another war. I know he feels that the first fight was stopped early, but it was just a matter of time before I stopped him cold. He was hurt and not throwing any punches back when the fight was stopped.
I have watched the first fight 100 times, sometimes three times a day, and I can’t believe the shots we took that night. But it excites me every time I see it. So here we go for a second time. It will be round eight. And the hits will keep on coming.
I ran up mountain paths in Colorado. I ran for miles on tracks and sparred more than 80 rounds to get ready for this big fight. I really pushed myself in training with quality work in the ring. I have had a great camp. Working hard is not just about winning this fight but being recognized as the number one fighter in my division.
My work ethic has always been great, dating back to the years when I was a state wrestling champion at Skyview High School in Colorado. For this fight against Rios I have been working on better movement and keeping my gloves higher. Win this fight and I will be on the next level, which is what I plan to do on March 30 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
For all my fans I want to say one thing….think ‘303 All The Way’