WBO junior welterweight titleholder Mike Alvarado says he's ready for the pressure of defending his belt against Ruslan Provodnikov before a hometown crowd.
"Mile High" Mike Alvarado was sky high, emotionally, during Tuesday's press conference in Denver announcing his Oct. 19 junior welterweight clash with Russian fighter Ruslan Provodnikov for Alvarado's WBO belt.
Alvarado-Provodnikov will be held at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a suburb of Denver, near Alvardo's hometown of Thornton, and it will be televised on HBO.
During a same-day telephone interview following the event, Alvarado (34-1, 23 knockouts) shared about his enthusiasm in regard to fighting Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) in front of his partisan fans.
Alvarado also expressed his thoughts on the pressures, demands and responsibilities that may come with celebrity and promoting such a major undertaking, saying, in part, that his experiences as a two-time state wrestling champion in high school have helped to shape his resolve.
Alvarado, who presented Provodnikov with a Denver Broncos' jersey during the press conference, was last in the ring for a unanimous decision win over Brandon Rios in March that avenged his seventh-round stoppage loss to Rios last year.
Trained by Freddie Roach, Provodnikov is coming off a unanimous decision loss in March to WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley, whom Provodnikov floored in the 12th round of his 147-pound debut.
Although Provodnikov never has been stopped, his other setback was in January of 2011 by unanimous decision against Mauricio Herrera, whom Alvarado unanimously decisioned in April of 2012 prior to his two bouts with Rios.
Their common opponent, in part, led Alvarado's co-manager, Henry Delgado, saying that his fighter would defeat Provodnikov by "seventh- or eighth-round knockout."
RingTV.com: How was the press conference?
Mike Alvarado: The press conference went good. There were some main family members there, and a lot of support, so it turned out good.
RingTV.com: What was the significance of the Denver Broncos' Jersey that you gave him?
MA: I wasn't sure that he had an NFL team or anything, so I was welcoming him to the NFL League. I just gave him that jersey.
RingTV.com: Are you getting any sense of the pressure, the responsibility, any demands for appearances or calls to align yourself to any causes as a result of your recent celebrity?
MA: Oh, no, I don't let pressure get to me at all. Sometimes, there is pressure that has been kind of added to it, but I just stick to my game plan. I just stick to what I do best. I don't really let it get to me and let stuff like that beat me up or throw me off of my game or anything.
So, I'm good under pressure. But I'm prepared for that type of responsibility, anyway. I know that's going to come with it, fighting in your home town and defending a world title and bringing HBO to your home. This is huge. I don't want to be a let down.
I want to go to sleep knowing that I gave it all that I've got, and not that, "Oh, I should have done this," or, "I should have done that," or, "I wish that I had done that." So having that focus and keeping that mental focus, that means that I'm
RingTV.com: How has having been a two-time state champion wrestler helped you?
MA: That gave me that work ethic, and that gave me that dedication ethic. So that adds to it a lot. That background that I've had. I have had over 2,500 wrestling matches.
I was a seven-time freestyle national wrestling champion, so it's awesome. That adds to it. This comes up huge for a fight like this.
For my high school career, my sophomore and junior years, I was 97-0. I took states twice my sophomore and my junior years.
RingTV.com: Does your common opponent, Herrera, and that fact that you beat him, and Provodnikov lost to him, factor into your mentality for this fight?
MA: I know that I'm the favorite. You look at fights like the Herrera fight, and he knows in the back of his head and in the back of his mind that he lost to Herrera, and I beat Herrera.
He's kind of like, "Oh." But I also think that Provodnikov, he's sort of like, "I'm past that," too. I see some hunger in him, still.
He's made it to that top level. He's fought Bradley. He's had a close fight with him, and now, he's got me in front of him. This is another big one for him.
RingTV.com: Do you feel as if you can put to use things that you learned from the way he lost to Bradley? He had problems adjusting to Bradley's boxing during the middle of the fight and you adjusted with your boxing ability to rebound and beat Rios.
MA: I still have to kind of go back over the Bradley fight. I watched it when it was live, but that was a little while ago. But I know that we'll get to our film study.
But I know that, being taller, and having that reach, everything is going to come together for me. Even with my boxing abilities in the Rios fight, I still haven't really shown too much.
But I did prove that I could make the adjustments to box. It's just something that I'll have to react off of and exploit even better in this next fight.
RingTV.com: What was your impression of Provodnikov's level of power against Brasdley?
MA: I know that he's tough, and I know he has power. I knew that he was strong. But I don't believe that Bradley really has that much of a chin, but he still had an opportunity.
That was a good fight and a good show, but I'm excited and motivated to put on another good show and to show my home town everything that boxing is all about.
RingTV.com: Given that you said that you felt that you could be the first man to stop Rios, and you were not able to, and that your co-manager, Delgado, is saying the same thing about Provodnikov, will that be a goal for you, to get the knockout?
MA: If that knockout comes, it comes. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to box to the best ability that I can. I'm going to fight and I'll fight to win.
I fight to go the distance, regardless. But if the knockout comes, it comes. That's just going to add to it and that will show that I'm a better fighter.
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org