Alvarez aims to put Bellator on map
If for a living young
"Stick my neck out there and hope I come out on top," the 26-year-old Philly fighter is fond of saying.
The current Bellator lightweight champion has willfully engaged in his share of high-risk maneuvers since turning to professional mixed martial arts in 2003. And Thursday evening at Boston's Wang Theatre, this time with the help of seasoned
Based on their styles, Alvarez should get his wish, consequences be damned. The first main event of a regulated MMA card in the state of Massachusetts, he let it be known, is going to be a good one.
"I'm fighting here. I'm not sitting behind a desk, I want to take risk," said Alvarez, whose 19-2 record happens to be among the best in his division. "Going in there just to win and put on a boring fight, I don't want to be related to anything like that."
Because the UFC released Neer after a points loss to
But Alvarez needs to blow off some steam; 80 rounds sparred in the last two months with the likes of
"I'd rather just give my belt up and fight a lot more, fight in tournaments and things like that," he said, half-serious. "As a champion you tend to fight less. I think I'm just going to have to ask for more per fight."
For a guy who's admittedly making more money than ever before, that might come off as greedy. But then Alvarez laughs when he's asked how his promoter is treating him.
"I've been well taken care of," he said. "I want to compensate them for it and put Bellator on the map. That's why I'm in Boston, to do that."
Alvarez underwent surgery in January to repair a torn meniscus, and because of Bellator's ambitious tournament schedule he can't defend the belt he captured in 2009 until a contender is crowned this summer. So he gets Neer (27-9-1), a crafty fighter inclined to bang.
"I believe that in order for me to consider myself one of the top ranked lightweights in the world, I have to go out and dominate the fight," said Alvarez, listed fifth by SI.com at 155 pounds. "I have to take it to Josh and finish him. That's what I'm looking to do. That's what I prepared to do."
Four fighters remain in the draw for a shot at Alvarez's belt this September, and they'll also be in Boston.
The favorite to meet Alvarez is still former UFC hotshot
While Huerta appears to have advantages against Curran, a younger cousin of veteran
When it comes time to defend his belt, Alvarez said he begged Bellator for the opportunity to fight "back home, something towards Atlantic City or Philadelphia," though he's not sure yet if it will happen.
First things first.
"I'm worried about Josh Neer," Alvarez said. "The tournament doesn't concern me until this fight is over."
Had judges assigned to their first showdown agreed with the public,
Of the three officials who scored the original bout, only Hamilton has the possibility to work it again in Montreal. The veteran judge is among the three officials brought in by the UFC to work the card, a representative of the Quebec Athletic Commission told SI.com. Joining Hamilton, are
It's expected that two of the three will be assigned to the rematch when the commissioner and head of officials for the QAC make that determination following Friday's weigh-in. The third judge will come from a trio of local officials licensed by the presiding regulatory body:
Of that group, Paquette seems most likely to gain the job. Thirteen months ago, at UFC 97, Paquette correctly scored
Procopio, meanwhile, is more known for his work in boxing, and Therien's résumé is fairly thin to receive such an important assignment.
The QAC is likely to place one of its own as the main event referee --
The likeliest group seems to be Lavigne as the in-ring official, with Weeks, D'Amato, and Paquette manning the judging assignments. Since Hamilton was part of the crew that scored the original fight, it would make some sense for him to sit this one out.
Weeks, a respected boxing referee, has judged MMA since the sport became regulated in Nevada in 2001. Notable decisions include a 29-28 tally in
D'Amato's name popped up last month when he tallied the