Philadelphia has always been known as a fi ght town. It’s where Bernard Hopkins was born and raised, where Frazier trained to fi ght Ali, and the same place Rocky Balboa ran up that endless staircase before fi ghting Apollo Creed for a world title. With so many champions in the city’s history, it was only a matter of time before a new generation of fi ghters began carrying Philly’s mixed martial arts torch.
Eddie Alvarez is a part of that new generation, and at 14-1 with twelve wins by (T)KO, he’s leading the pack. Fourteen wins doesn’t happen overnight, but Alvarez’s success seemingly did. For fi ve years, he’s been fi ghting under the radar in New Jersey. But recently he started competing in main events for organizations like Bodog Fight, and in the ShoXC Elite Challenger Series. He suffered the only loss of his career to Nick Thompson about a year ago, but got right back on the horse and defeated Matt Lee by decision just three months later, before fi nishing off Ross “The Boss” Ebanez by technical knockout at ShoXC on January 25. His two wins in Japan qualifi ed him for the semifi nals in the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix.
“Honestly I couldn’t be happier this year. I really wanted to start it off with a bang,” Alvarez said. “I’m going to go real hard this year…achieve what I can, fi ght the best welterweights I can, and get my name out there.”
Eddie Alvarez is a blue-collar fi ghter with no desire to work for submissions; he only hunts for knockouts. “Knockouts are always the best way to win,” according to Alvarez. “Everyone who is a fi ght fan or fi ghter or anything of the sort wants to see a KO. It doesn’t matter if they’re a Jiu-Jitsu guy or a wrestler – they’re waiting for it. It’s got to be perfectly executed, and whether it’s on the ground or standing up, a knockout is defi nitely the best way to fi nish a fi ght.”
Alvarez went from high school wrestler to street fi ghter to mixed martial artist in about a year’s time, and only began to take MMA seriously after proving he was successful at it. In the beginning, it was just something to try, but after winning ten fi ghts in a row and becoming a welterweight champ as well as a father, it was all or nothing for this Philadelphia slugger.
“I always wanted to win and I always wanted to train hard. I didn’t need a son to make me decide that, but with Eddie Jr. around it became more apparent,” he said. “He basically put me in line. It stopped being a hobby and became something I could do or maybe should do. I had to take it a lot more seriously to chase it as a career.”
Being a full-time fi ghter hasn’t slowed down Alvarez when it comes to being a full-time dad. He’s just had another baby boy named Anthony. Outside the cage, Alvarez enjoys nothing more than spending time with his sons.
“I train and I spend time with my family,” he said. “The feeling I get when I learn a new move in fi ghting, it’s the same if not better taking my sons someplace new and letting them see new things for the fi rst time.
Now nearly three years old, Eddie Jr. has seen plenty for his age, including a live MMA match from the very front row when his dad battled Matt Lee. Alvarez returned to his winning ways that night, and after the fi ght, he hoisted his fi rstborn upon his shoulders to celebrate his victory by unanimous decision.
“I let him see it. I want to make it a normal thing for him to watch a fi ght and for him to not look at it so seriously,“ Alvarez said. “I think if he grows up with it – the wins, the losses, the ups and downs – that’s life itself. I’m actually teaching him life lessons when watches me fi ght or train.”
With the exception of his lone loss to Thompson, Alvarez has put away each and every one of his opponents with his knuckle game (even Lee, who he defeated by unanimous decision). He’s a championship-caliber athlete and a serious threat to the welterweight division.