“I was in a dark world, man. I was in a dark world. I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do. I was living another lifestyle, meshing that in with my boxing world…That fire was blown out; that light was out for awhile there, but now it’s lit. It’s a torch now. That fire is motivating me. I’m so dedicated. My lifestyle is just all about doing better. I’m a changed man, you know…This comeback is going to be huge for me, it’s going to be really epic, and it’s going to be a story that people are going to want to follow because of where I was, what I got through, and where I am now,” stated former world champion Mike Alvarado, who opened up about the changes he made in his life as he looks to make a comeback inside the ring. You don’t want to miss what he had to say in this exclusive. Check it out!
BT: Mike, what’s going on, bro? Tell us about the comeback trail!
MA: This is a huge comeback story for me. I’ve been down a long road with a lot of ups and downs in it. This is really me coming back. This is really me fighting for my life, fighting for what I love, this sport, fighting for what made me. I’m on a good page now, man. I’m loving life right now; couldn’t be any better.
BT: Obviously the last time people saw you in the ring was that third fight with Brandon Rios. I remember watching that fight and saying to myself, “That’s not the Mike Alvarado I know.”
MA: That wasn’t me. That was nowhere near what I’m about and who I am. I only had a few weeks of training for that fight. I was highly unprepared for that fight, but at the same time, I felt like I did enough too. I ruptured a paralyzed muscle in my eye from that fight. Right in the first round, I was freaking out because I couldn’t see. The alignment of my eye was thrown off and I couldn’t see nothing, man. I was freaking out. I went back to the corner and I was like, “I can’t see.” I was telling Shann, I was telling my corner man, I was like, “I can’t do nothing. I can’t really balance out what’s going on in this ring. I can’t see nothing.” So, you know, I was freaking out. Shann’s like, “Yo, just give me another round. Try to give it all you got. Go out swinging if you have to.” I was willing to go out swinging. I really was willing to go out swinging, but I couldn’t see since that part of my vision was gone. It’s like your blind. When you have something wrong with your eye, everything else goes wrong. I knew I had to stop that fight. I knew it wasn’t my time. It was time to clean up. It was time to get my act together. It was God. It was God doing something to me to make me really work and realize what I have in my life and where I sit in my career.
BT: You mentioned having to clean up your act. Looking back, do you remember the kind of mind set and place you were in leading up to that fight?
MA: I was in a dark world, man. I was in a dark world. I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do. I was living another lifestyle, meshing that in with my boxing world. I was meshing that type of lifestyle along with my training. Me, as a person, I go hard at everything I do, so when I’m training, I’m training hard. If I’m out there doing something else, I get it in. I go hard at everything I do. That pretty much right there, man, in my life, I was fed up with that lifestyle and meshing that type of lifestyle in. I did it my whole career, man. I lived that type of way and it got to the point where hard work beats talent when talent ain’t working hard. It got to that point and I was fed up with that lifestyle. After the Rios fight, my eye was tore up. I had to get eye surgery on my right eye. They had to tuck a muscle; it was like a right superior oblique tuck they had to do on it. It’s a lot better now. I can see a lot better with the alignment. Training’s been going good. I mean, this is the best I’ve felt my whole career and my whole life, man. This is the cleanest I’ve been in my whole life and my whole career. Throughout all them fights I’ve had, I wanted to stay clean and just worry about my training, but it was just always after the fight, I was always back to that lifestyle; that lifestyle that distracted me. I had so many distractions.
BT: When you say “that lifestyle”, was it a matter of the people you were hanging around with at the time?
MA: It was the people I was hanging with; it was the lifestyle I was living. The drugs and alcohol played a role in it, you know, in that lifestyle, being out there, the center of attention, always wanting to be in the wrong places at the wrong times doing the wrong things; just that lifestyle, man. It came to a point where I was done with it. I couldn’t do that no more. February 16th, that very next day, I surrendered my life. I didn’t want it no more. I told my wife, you know, I didn’t want this lifestyle no more and I was done. From that day on, I’ve been sober. I’ve been sober for 330 days now, almost going on a year. Since then, man, I got married. Me and my wife got married July 11th of last year. I’m a newlywed, so, you know, it’s about me and my wife. She’s pregnant. I have three girls already, so she’s having my boy, man. I went by that Chinese calendar, so it’s working, man. It works. We checked the ovulation day, we checked her temperature, we tried it all, man; we broke it down to a science. I was like, man, I’ma do everything the right way nowadays. I’ma do everything right (laughing).
BT: (Laughing) Congratulations on all of that.
MA: I had to turn everything around. I had to, man. I have too much heart for it. The heart that people seen with me, like the Prescott fight, you know, people seen the heart that I have and what I’m capable of doing, and that heart right there is what came back in me. That fire was blown out; that light was out for awhile there, but now it’s lit. It’s a torch now. That fire is motivating me. I’m so dedicated. My lifestyle is just all about doing better. I’m a changed man, you know.
BT: Was there one thing in particular that made you realize it was time to make a change or was it just a combination of everything that was going on?
MA: The change, for me, was because I was hurting myself, you know, and I wasn’t the person that I know that God made me to be. He wanted to be more of an inspiration. He put me in this post to be a leader and I wanted that. I’ve been a leader my whole life. Since I was a kid growing up, I was always the center of attention, always the one winning, always winning championships. You know, I have over 2500 wrestling matches, so I’ve always been the one to show you how to get it done and what it takes to persevere through anything. It got to a point where that lifestyle caught up with to where I had to make changes to get that feeling back, to get this love for my passion of performing, the love to want to be a leader and show these kids that the sky’s the limit when you put in hard work and dedication.
BT: As far as your comeback is concerned, do you already have something set up or are you still working on that?
MA: We’re at the drawing board right now still. I’m putting all my faith and everything into Top Rank. I know they have my back. I know they want the best for me. The first quarter of boxing is now, so there’s going to be some big fights in January and February. I’m waiting on the word from Top Rank on what they want to match up and a date and an opponent, so I’m sure we’re at the drawing board with a few names and I’m sure that’ll get out real soon about who we’re going to face on this comeback. This comeback is going to be huge for me, it’s going to be really epic, and it’s going to be a story that people are going to want to follow because of where I was, what I got through, and where I am now.
BT: Was that a difficult conversation with Top Rank when you sat down and explained to them what you were going through and the changes you made?
MA: It was hard at first, but once I was completely surrendered and I knew how I wanted to change my life and I wanted to be this person that I am today, once I knew that, I knew that admitting to what I had to admit to wasn’t as hard as it could’ve been if I wasn’t ready to surrender what I had to surrender to be this man today. Everything worked out. God is good, you know, God is good and I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to be doing. He’s been answering my prayers and he’s been helping me out.
BT: How’s the weight?
MA: Oh, my weight is good. I’m gonna look the best I ever looked in my life. I’m the most solid I’ve ever been. I’m already walking around about 155, 156, 160; my weight fluctuates, but I’m in the best shape I ever been in my life.
BT: So you’re talking 147 then?
MA: I’m talking 147, yes, 147. I’m gonna make 147. There’s no need for me to go back down to 140. I think there’s more bigger fights at 147 anyway right now. 140 is too much. I’ve been cutting weight my whole life. I was born on a scale and I’m still weighing on a scale (laughing). I can’t wait for that day to come where I can actually gain some weight and bulk up and maybe get up into the 200s, but in shape, with a lot of muscles, man; a little bodybuilding. I hooked up with this bodybuilding company too. They helped me out with a lot of strength training for the past 5-6 weeks right now, so I’m transitioning it all up. Everything is coming back. It’s been a long road on this comeback with how I need to feel, my technique, my interaction within the fighting, my generalship; you know, I had a long road. I’ve been in there with a lot of good fighters and got a lot of good experience that has sunken into me that’s going to help me in these next fights for this comeback.
BT: Have you been keeping up with what’s been going on in the welterweight division?
MA: I’ve been watching it, you know. I’ve been curious about how everybody was going to do and how it was going to turn out. I watched that Bradley-Rios fight. I seen that Rios got that fight with Bradley afterwards, but he wasn’t prepared like how he should’ve been prepared. He was saying he wasn’t there. I set Rios up with all them fights, man, you know. He got that Pacquiao fight after I beat Rios that second fight. I only got like a month of good training for that fight, man. That was all pure talent that I beat a lot of these guys with, man, in and out of the gym here and there in between fights. Now it’s just 100%; there is no slack in my game no more. There’s no cutting corners. I’m 100% so dedicated to what I want. I love it, man. My passion is just striking in me in every kind of way that I need in every aspect of this sport.
BT: When fans read this, you know there’s going to be skeptics who believe that, based on your last performance, you’re washed up and done. What would you say to those skeptics who don’t believe you’ve turned your life around and are ready to perform in the ring again?
MA: Yeah, I know what people are going to go off of. That’s all they have, what they’ve seen in these recent past fights, that’s all that they can go off of. When they see this, they’re going to be like, “Yeah, whatever. He’s washed up.” I’ve only shown that; I’ve only proved that I’m not worth a damn thing. But now, it’s like, okay, what about them fights that I did come through on and showed my heart and what I’m really about? That’s the Mike that’s going to be coming back. That’s the Mike that’s going to show out, God-willing. I can say that I’m gonna be the best, I can say that I’m going to look a lot better, but I leave it in God’s hands and I do what I need to be doing to back that up. Everybody will see though. Everybody will see a huge difference in cleanliness, my whole body being cleansed and my whole life being cleansed out. Everybody’s going to see a huge difference in that regardless as a person, even if they don’t get the entertaining fight they want. Everything’s coming together the way it should be right now, you know. I’ve been getting a lot better. Everything has been coming. I was pushing it really hard. I wanted it to come back a lot quicker than it was, but there was so much time of not preparing myself the right way and not taking care of my body 100%, so that process was taking a little longer because my body wasn’t used to feeling 100% all the time now. Mentally, you know, the way I think about myself and the way my mental is now, my body and my technique and my boxing and my talent is catching up to that now. It wasn’t like an addiction to like a drug or an alcohol; it was an addiction just to a lifestyle that was just being out there and distracting me from what I really need to be doing. I hit the bottom and this is me fighting back. This is me fighting back to where I want to be and where I belong. I’m back on my feet and I’m climbing again. I’m climbing and I don’t need no ladder. I’m using my legs, I’m using my body; I don’t need no ladder, you know what I mean. I’m putting my work in and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and I’ma prove that, man. Everybody’s going to see a difference. I’m not really a huge talker. I’m just going to look different. I’m just going to show it. Actions speak louder than words and I’m just going to show it the way I need to in that ring, you know.
BT: No doubt. So in your ideal world, how soon would you like to get back in the ring?
MA: If it was up to me, I’m ready for the end of this month, 3 weeks, 4 weeks, or the beginning or middle of February. ASAP man. I’ve been training since March/April; I’ve been all the way until now. I’ve been on it, man. I’m hungry. I’m real hungry again, you know. I want the best of my ability back. I want to be a champ again. I want that belt. I want people to look at me as a champion, talk about me as a champion, and not only inside that ring, but as a good person outside that ring. You can talk to me as a down-to-earth good person, you know.
BT: What type of opponent are you looking to get? I hate to use the word “tune-up”, but I’m assuming you want to shake some rust off after the long layoff.
MA: It will be a tune-up. It will definitely be a tune-up because I have a lot of rust that I’m still sweating out, you know, but it’s coming off; definitely it’s coming off. It’s sweating out and I will be ready for whoever. I don’t think I’ve ever guaranteed like, “Yeah, I’m knocking whoever out,” but whoever I’m fighting next, they’re in trouble, man (lauging). For real! It’s legitimate. I know the money’s not going to be as big as it was. I want the process to go to the point where I’m going to get to where I want to be here in another couple of fights. I want to be at that level where I should’ve been and where I once was.
BT: Well man, I know sometimes written pieces don’t convey the tone in a person’s voice, but I hope when people read this, they realize just how sincere and honest you are about the changes you made and your desire to make this comeback meaningful. I can tell how important this is to you. We’ll definitely have you on the site a lot more as you continue this journey, but before I let you go, is there anything else you want to say?
MA: Everything that’s going on here, it’s going to be backed up 100%. I’m doing what I say I’m doing. I’m a man of my word and I’m backing up what I say. I’m not just saying it for my own gratification or whatever. I’m trying to give the best of me to this boxing world. I ain’t going to say I am, but God-willing, I’m gonna be better than I was before my whole first half of my career. I feel like I’m coming into this comeback fight 0-0, like it’s my pro debut. That’s how much of a difference I made in myself and that’s how much better I hope to be. If not, at the end of the day, I know I gave it my all and I cleaned up for the better, regardless, for my family and for my kids. It made me a better person definitely.
BT: Gotta plug the Twitter and Instagram too, bro!
MA: I’m hardly on Instagram, but it’s koking303. My twitter, @MileHighMike303, is the main one that I like for people to really hear what’s going on with me.
[ Follow Ben Thompson on Twitter