Former Colorado Class 4A state high school wrestling champion Mike Alvarado has become a successful professional boxer. Alvarado is undefeated in 12 fights, nine of which have been won by knockout. He has not received much attention locally, but Alvarado has been noticed in national boxing circles.
Q: You were a wrestler at Skyview High School?
Q: How good?
Alvarado: I took state twice. Two years I was ineligible because of grades.
Q: Why did you choose boxing?
Alvarado: After I graduated high school, I wasn't too enthused to go to college. I started working. One day I woke up and decided I needed to do something. I felt like I had too much talent to let it go to waste. I went to the boxing gym, and it's been meant to be ever since.
Q: Do you remember your first day in the gym?
Alvarado: 20th Street Gym. House of pain. It was different. I was new. But I wanted to do it.
Q: Remember the first time you got hit in the ring?
Alvarado: Yeah. I was like, oh man . . . I thought twice about doing it. I didn't know if I wanted to fight anymore. But it wasn't so bad. You get used to it when you learn how to take punches. It's not as bad as people think it is.
Q: If you weren't boxing, what would you be doing now?
Alvarado: Probably coaching. I like to teach kids.
Q: What sport?
Alvarado: Wrestling. I'd probably be coaching high school wrestling right now. I have a lot of coaches that call, ask if I can put on some clinics. Maybe I can do that when I have more time. But right now I'm focused on my boxing career.
Q: Do you ever find yourself in awe of some of the big-name boxers you've come across in person thus far?
Alvarado: Man, I'm still in shock about being here right now (pointing at promoter Bob Arum). It's still sinking in. But I'm learning from these fights. Hopefully, I'll be Top Rank's main event one day.
Q: Is it hard for you to stop from looking too far ahead?
Alvarado: It is hard. I feel so good right now. My confidence is good. I'm learning so much, and I feel like my talent is progressing in the sport. But I'm staying humble, taking one step at a time.
Q: Funniest thing that's happened to you in boxing since you've turned pro.
Alvarado: Everything's really been serious. I always have the game-face on. But there was one fight. I weighed in at 139 pounds. I trained real hard for the fight. It was in San Diego -- a good card with Juan Diaz fighting the main event. I thought I was going to have a good opponent. He comes in wearing a Mexican hat, a chubby little guy weighing in at 147. We were supposed to fight with eight-ounce gloves, but at 147 and up you have to fight with 10-ounce gloves. They couldn't find another pair of 10-ounce gloves in the whole city of San Diego. I thought I wasn't going to get to fight on the card. It was funny. But we actually got to fight and it was a quick knockout. We were worried about nothing.
Q: Can you sing? You know Oscar De la Hoya tried a career at it.
Alvarado: I think I can sing. I mean, I mess around. Oh man, I don't think I'd become a singer.
Q: Who's your favorite comedian?
Alvarado: I like Jamie Foxx. That's my boy right there. I like Jamie and I like Will Smith -- the whole Fresh Prince of Bel Air thing.
Q: You were born in Denver?
Alvarado: Born and raised in Denver.
Q: Broncos fan?
Alvarado: Yes. Denver Broncos all the way. My managers and handlers are all Oakland Raiders fans. I'm always telling them to wait until we come out with orange-and-blue trunks and everybody's sporting the orange-and-blue cornermen's jackets. They're like, no way.
Q: You feel like you're under the boxing radar here in town?
Alvarado: A lot of people locally don't know me. They haven't followed my career, not like the boxing public in Las Vegas, places like that.