Nonito Donaire, Brandon Rios lead Top Rank boxing card

When Top Rank President Todd duBoef answered his cellphone Wednesday, he was out of breath after a long bicycle ride in the mountains of Aspen, Colo., where he is vacationing with his family.

It was fitting, though, because Top Rank on Wednesday announced a fight card for this fall that could take a boxing fan's breath away.

Nonito "The Filipino Flash" Donaire and Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios have established themselves as two of boxing's hardest-punching, most exciting fighters at any weight. Their nicknames say it all.
Top Rank has put the twenty-something, elite pound-for-pound sluggers on the same card against strong opponents in an HBO-televised event Oct. 13 (10 p.m. ET) at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Each has carried a fight card, thanks to the style they bring to the ring: carrying the action from start to finish, going for the knockout with every opponent and taking a punch to land two.
Donaire (29-1, 18 KOs), a four-division champion known for his powerful knockout punch — his second-round KO of Fernando Montiel in 2011 is a YouTube sensation and he broke Jeffery Mathebula's jaw in his last fight — puts his two super bantamweight titles on the line against dangerous Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KOs) in a 12-round championship bout.
Nishioka, 36, won the WBC 122-pound title against Rafael Marquez in October but later vacated the title. A version of that belt also is up for grabs.
The second half of the co-main event features Rios (30-0-1, 22 KOs) against "Mile High" Mike Alvarado (33-0, 23 KOs) from Denver in a 10-round light welterweight matchup of toe-to-toe bangers who know no other way to fight.
"You have two guys in Donaire and Nishioka that are at the top of their division, and two guys that are young and rugged and telegenic in Rios and Alvarado," duBoef said. "And you look at Rios' style it's like, 'I know nothing but to get hit and throw.'
"These are the type of fighters I remember watching a lot as a kid," duBoef continued. "Those guys that used to come in and kick it out of you and wear you down and smile when they get hit. The (Roberto) Durans, the (Julio Cesar) Chavezes, even the (Ray) "Boom Boom" Mancinis, they're exciting to watch."
Alvarado, 32, has gained plenty of fans after his last two fights. His slugfest against Breidis Prescott on the Pacquiao-Bradley undercard ended with Alvarado, his face covered in blood, pounding Prescott into submission with a series of uppercuts after being well behind on the scorecards going into the final round. In April he went toe-to toe in defeating Mauricio Herrera in a fight of the year candidate.
Rios, on the other hand, has had his problems, mostly with weight. The former WBA lightweight champ was stripped of his title when he couldn't make weight for his fight against England's John Murray at Madison Square Garden in December. Rios won that fight by 11th-round TKO.
Then in April, Rios fought for that vacant title against Richard Abril and again missed weight. Rios won a highly controversial split decision to stay unbeaten.
Now he has moved up to 140 pounds. Should be no sweat making that weight, right?
"I learned long ago … that if a fighter ever has a weight problem, he'll always have a weight problem," duBoef said. "Brandon is going to have to sacrifice to make 140, but the difference is in how you make weight, rather than just making weight.
"Brandon is at a real crossroads. He was steamrolling last year, and the wheels came off with some unfortunate situations.
"I think he has a lot to prove. He's hungry and he's going to have to put it out there and get the wheels back on and get back on track and show people why he was considered one of the most popular and telegenic young fighters out there."
The fight was originally scheduled for Texas, when Donaire's opponent was slated to be Mexican star Jorge Arce. But that fight couldn't be made, and the venue was moved to California. "Rios is from Southern California, and the second largest Filipino population cluster in California is right in that Carson area," duBoef said.
Donaire has not lost in 11 years, and Nishioka has an eight-year unbeaten streak.
"History shows there is only one way for a fighter to make the leap to stardom and that's by accepting the challenges and risks like the ones Donaire, Nishioka, Rios and Alvarado committed to on October 13," said duBoef. "They are young, hungry and ambitious,"

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