Mike Alvarado is the pride of Denver boxing, and on January 24 at the 1STBANK Center, he's scheduled to face arch-rival Brandon Rios in a key match scheduled to be broadcast on HBO. But if and when he steps into the ring, he'll have a shadow hanging over him -- a gun charge from an arrest in Denver over the weekend. Photos, videos and details below.
See also: Photos of the Day: Mike Alvarado, Hometown Boxing Hero, Falls to Ruslan Provodnikov, published October 21, 2013
Alvarado's boxing career and arrest record have moved forward in parallel. A 2010 BoxingScene.com piece notes, "Alvarado advances to 27-0 (19KO) with the win, his first since a break from the ring which included a five-month stint in jail for violating the terms of his probation. The former amateur wrestler standout was given an 18-month sentence, serving five months of hard time with the rest issued as part of a work release program." BoxingTribune.com notes that the original offenses involved "traffic and domestic violence charges."
His troubles with the law didn't hamper his rise as a pugilist. On October 13, 2012, in Carson, California, he and Rios sparred for the first time, with HBO boxing commentator Max Kellerman waxing rhapsodic about the contest. "There's no guarantee in the fight game. in boxing, anything can happen. a guy can get cut, and it doesn't live up to the hype.... But this is as close as you can get," Kellerman enthuses in a video on view below. "Both of these guys, Rios and Alvarado, have that thing in them, that next-level thing. You hit me, I'm gonna hit you back harder."
Here's the clip.
Alvarado came up short in Carson, but in a 2013 match with Rios, he emerged victorious, earning the full junior welterweight title as a result. Here's a video in which Kellerman quizzes him after the brutal face-off. The footage shows off the "303" tattoo stretched across his chest.
Since then, things haven't gone nearly so well for Alvarado. He fell to challenger Ruslan Provodnikov in an October 2013 title defense that took place at 1STBANK Center, as captured by photographer Brandon Marshall. Here's one photo from that fight....
...and another: Then, last May, Alvarado lost again, this time to Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez, making his rubber match with Rios on the 24th that much more important -- and his arrest extremely ill-timed.
What happened? According to 9News, a Denver police officer pulled over a silver Hummer with an expired license near 18th and California around 4:15 a.m. on Saturday, January 3. The driver was Alvarado, and the officer soon discovered he had two active Adams County warrants in his name -- one for a felony weapons beef, the other for a traffic misdemeanor. She then searched his car and found a handgun in the glove box, precipitating his arrest for possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
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The bust won't prevent the January 24 fight from happening, promoter Carl Moretti tells ESPN. "[This kind of publicity] doesn't help the event," Moretti is quoted as saying. "This isn't the kind of publicity we want, but I don't think it will affect Mike's performance."
It does, however, add a new mug shot to Alvarado's collection. Here's his latest booking photo.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.