Mike Alvarado sure has earned a fight in front of his hometown fans in Denver, and that is exactly where Top Rank promoter Bob Arum intends to put on his next fight this fall.
"We will put him in Denver, end of October, beginning of November," Arum told ESPN.com on Monday. "We're looking at a number of opponents. [Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] will be going to New York to talk it over with HBO, to talk about the opponents and the exact date."
The 32-year-old Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) has been one of boxing's most crowd-pleasing fighters for the past few years, but his two most recent fights have been classics.
In October, he was stopped in the seventh round by Brandon Rios in a hellcious scrap that was the fight of the year runner up in my book. On March 30, they went to war again in this year's leading fight of the year candidate, and this time Alvarado won a tight unanimous decision and a vacant interim junior welterweight title.
But Alvarado aggravated a tendon in his right hand in the fight and wound up needing surgery, which is why he won't be back until so late in the year, not to mention how physical the fight was. He could use the rest.
"He had a tendon injury that he believes he injured seriously in the rematch with Rios," Arum said. "But the doctor called me and, in fact, this was a tendon injury from before. It had been detached for about a year. The operation was dicey, but the doctor said it was a success and Alvarado has been rehabilitating the hand. The reason the doctor said it was such a difficult surgery is because it was an aggravation of an old injury that had not been fixed."
Arum and I marveled that Alvarado could engage in the ridiculously brutal fights he has fought recently with a damaged hand. But Arum pointed out that fighters such as Alvarado, and Rios for that matter, are not normal.
"If I asked him to fight two weeks from now, he'd fight," Arum said. "But that's Alvarado."
Arum wouldn't identify the potential opponents but acknowledged that one of them is Ruslan Provodnikov. Arum made a deal with Provodnikov's promoter, Artie Pelullo, to match the fighter with welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. on March 16, which produced a barnburner that rivaled Alvarado-Rios II for action. Alvarado-Provodnikov, which is HBO's first choice, would be incredible.
"We're looking at opponents who would make great fights with Alvarado," Arum said.
Almost anyone would.