STEPHENVILLE, Texas - Calling it a matchup that will be remembered for years to come, Ty Murray looks forward to reigning World Champion Silvano Alves taking on Asteroid at the first PBR 15/15 Bucking Battle in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday night.
Fifteen of the world's best bull riders will face 15 of the planet's top bulls in a first-of-its-kind competition that will be broadcast Sunday afternoon on NBC.
"If Asteroid bucks Silvano off, you are going to know without a doubt that he is, well, right now he's the No. 1 bull, because Bushwacker isn't here," Murray said in his weekly podcast. "But if he bucks Silvano off, it makes you question if he isn't No. 1 even with Bushwacker.
"If Silvano rides him, you're talking about a serious notch in his belt."
The matchup is all the more interesting given Alves' conservative approach to 2012.
'If Silvano rides him, you're talking about a serious notch in his belt.'
After three Built Ford Tough Series events, he's one of only three riders with seven qualified rides, yet unlike Valdiron de Oliveira and Austin Meier, who are the top two riders in the world standings, Alves is ranked 14th.
Eleven other men with fewer rides are ranked higher.
"At the pace that it's going - that game plan that worked pretty well for him last year - so far, it isn't working," Murray said. "For me, there's just too much money on the table.
"Three events in, our World Champion hasn't struck. He's had the opportunity to strike, but he just hasn't taken it."
Murray said he doesn't understand Alves' thought processes. Not being able to sit down and talk with him one-on-one leaves him scratching his head.
However, he said Silvano "has talent for days."
Alves is quite capable of making the 8-second whistle on Saturday, and that's precisely why Murray doesn't understand Alves' reluctance to accept re-ride opportunities, especially in the early rounds of an event.
If in fact Alves does make the whistle, it could cause even more observers to question Alves' unwillingness to match up with lesser bulls.
"This is a matchup that I'm really looking forward to," Murray said. "We know Asteroid is the total package, and to me, Portland (Ore.) proved it even further. This bull is quicker than other bulls. He's faster than other bulls. He has more kick than other bulls. This weekend showed that he's smarter than other bulls."
During his 25-minute conversation, Murray also talked about Oliveira's matchup with Buckey, which he predicted could be the high-marked ride, as well as Guilherme Marchi facing Smackdown.
'Talking about (Silvano) riding (Asteroid) solidifies how great we think he is, but it almost leaves us with more questions than it does answers. I already feel he can ride about every bull there is.'
"Talking about (Silvano) riding (Asteroid) solidifies how great we think he is," Murray said, "but it almost leaves us with more questions than it does answers. I already feel he can ride about every bull there is."
Murray sees Alves as one of the few riders who doesn't perform any differently on big bulls or small bulls, bulls who go right or bulls who go left, or bulls with speed versus bulls with power.
To this point, he's had a move and an answer for every type of bull.
Saturday night at Power Balance Pavilion, he'll try to come up with answer for Asteroid - a bull he's already bucked off once before.
Murray's podcast can be heard here.
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