Not only does Adriano Moraes believe that Silvano Alves will become the first back-to-back World Champion in history, but the three-time titlist doesn't think it will be a difficult task for the 23-year-old.
"He's got one thing that a lot of World Champions didn't have, and that's youth," Moraes said. "He's more calm than all of the other riders. He's not going to feel the pressure. He's just going to continue to do his business."
There have been 14 champions in 18 years. Of the three who have won multiple titles - Moraes, 3; Chris Shivers, 2, and Justin McBride, 2 - none were able to win back-to-back gold buckles.
'He's got one thing that a lot of World Champions didn't have, and that's youth.'
In addition to his youth, and perhaps because of it, Alves is healthy.
Shivers said that every year there are only one or two riders who make it through an entire 10-month Built Ford Tough Series without missing time with injuries, or struggling through a portion of the season with physical limitations.
"He's doing everything right and he's got the ability," Shivers said. "He wants to win, and that's what he's here for.
"[But] he's human. In this sport they'll take you to the highest level and bring you down to the lowest level. We'll see how he takes it once he reaches the bottom. Everybody's going to go through it. I don't care who you are. He may have five years that are unbelievable, but he'll see the pain here sooner or later."
Of the three men with multiple PBR championships, Justin McBride (center, with Brendon Clark and Ross Coleman in 2007) came the closest to back-to-back titles, winning in 2005 and 2007.
This year, Alves recorded 14 Top 5 finishes, and only once did he go 0-for-the-weekend. His three BFTS event wins were second only to the four each won by Valdiron de Oliveira and Robson Palermo.
But there are added obligations that come with winning a world title in the PBR. In 2012, the spotlight will be much brighter.
Alves will be followed incessantly by television cameras, and with a translator provided by the PBR, he will also be asked to take part in more interviews than past non-English-speaking champions.
"He's not going to get sick and tired of things because he's going to have to do it," said Shivers, who along with McBride had more media requests than other past champions. "That stuff's good for a few years, but after a while it kind of wears on you."
'In this sport they'll take you to the highest level and bring you down to the lowest level. We'll see how he takes it once he reaches the bottom.'
On the whole, Alves understands more now than when he came to the United States in April of 2010. But Moraes said he still doesn't quite get all the talk and rumors - the criticism or the encouragement - and that "even if he understood 100 percent, I don't think he would play games with his mind."
"He doesn't speak English," said Guilherme Marchi, who has grown fond of his countryman in the past 18 months, "but he wishes he could speak English so he could speak with the fans, speak to everybody."
Moraes said, "If anyone has a legitimate chance of winning back-to-back, it's Silvano."
"He's not just good," Marchi added. "He's an extremely good rider.
"He's going to break all the records right here in the PBR. … He's young and has a heart for riding bulls. That guy is going to be a five, six-time champion. I believe that. The guy is so good."
Shivers, who described Alves as a machine, tempered that enthusiasm. "That's pretty hard," he said.
The new season begins Jan. 6, 7 and 8 in New York at Madison Square Garden.
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