Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Chess match or fireworks? Insider picks on Alvarado-Provodinov
WBO junior welerweight titleholder Mike Alvarado and challenger Ruslan Provodnikov are set to wage a fight-of-the-year-caliber battle on HBO on Saturday night. Or are they? Alvarado believes he can box Provodnikov if need be?
Although Mike Alvarado has said that he can win a toe-to-toe battle with hard-hitting junior welterweight rival Ruslan Provodnikov, the WBO titleholder also believes that he has the edge in boxing skills.
Meanwhile Provodnikov (22-2, 15 knockouts) is confident that he can force Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) into "a street fight" when the clash in what is considered to be a "fight of the year" caliber bout on Saturday night at 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a suburb of Denver, near Alvardo's hometown of Thornton.
"This one has the makings of what should be a scintillating brawl that could potentially land on many 'fight of the year' lists," said KnockoutNation's Andreas Hale of Alvarado, who was last in the ring for a unanimous-decision win over Brandon Rios in March, out-boxing a man who had stopped him in the seventh-round round in October of last year.
"However, I think Mike Alvarado learned his lesson in the first fight against Brandon Rios that you can not go into every fight with the intent to go toe to toe until one man falls. It didn't work out and saw Alvarado stopped in the seventh round. It was fun to watch and probably won over a few new Alvarado fans, but a loss lingers much longer."
The same can be said for Provodnikov, who scored a 12th-round knockdown during a unanimous-decision loss in his last fight in March with WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley, who successfully defended the belt he won by split decision over Manny Pacquiao last June.
"Mike Alvarado's going to be there for him to hit. I believe that Provodnikov has also gained a lot of confidence from the fight with Tim Bradley. Talking to Freddie Roach, I know that he's learned a lot."
There is a question, however, of whether or not Roach will be in the corner of Provodnikov, given that he is currently in General Santos City Philippines, where he is training Pacquiao for next month's fight with Rios that will happen on Nov. 24 in Macau.
"Both guys are big punchers with the power to hurt each other. Mike Alvarado is the better boxer," said USA Today's Bob Velin. "That, along with the Denver altitude, a partisan home crowd and the likelihood that Ruslan Provodnikov's Hall of Fame trainer, Freddie Roach, will probably not be in his corner ...will help Alvarado."
Hale, Ginn and Velin are among 28 insiders polled by RingTV.com regarding what will transpire during Alvarado-Provodnikov, which is being televised on HBO.
Ruslan Provodnikov late-round KO Mike Alvarado: Mike Alvarado has the ability to out-box Ruslan Provodnikov, but fighting at home, I suspect he'll get sucked into a slug-fest.
Record: 9-6 [Lastt pick: Marquez KO Bradley]
Alvarado by close unanimous or majority decision: I think Alvarado weathers an early strom from Provodnikov and resists the urge to show out for the hometown crowd by getting too macho with the Russian badass; instead he uses his height, reach, jab and lateral movement to take command of the middle and late rounds. The championship rounds should be a lot of fun as "Provo" goes for broke and Alvarado stands his ground to appease the fans and his own warrior instinct.
Record: 10-8 [Alvarez UD 12 Mayweather]
Mike Alvarado TKO 9 Ruslan Provodnikov: Mike Alvarado showed he can win in more than one way in his rematch decision over Brandon Rios. That new found versatility at home in Denver and at altitude poses a combination of problems that eventually will prove to be too much for Ruslan Provodnikov.
Record: 19-7 [Bradley SD 12 Marquez]
Ruslan Provodnikov TKO 10 Mike Alvarado: Returning home to Colorado after two fan-friendly firefights with Brandon Rios, there's no rest for the weary, or for Mike Alvarado. "Mile High" Mike is matched tough against Ruslan Provodnikov, a Russian mauler coming off a brutal confrontation of his own against Tim "Desert Storm" Bradley.
Record: 15-8 [Bradley UD 12 Marquez]
Ruslan Provodnikov KO 9 Mike Alvarado: I think that that Ruslan Provodnikov has learned a lot from just sparring with Manny Pacquiao. Mike Alvarado's going to be there for him to hit.
Mike Alvarado UD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: A lot of fans may see this fight ending inside the distance but, like Danny Garcia versus Lucas Matthysse, it could surprise us.
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: As was the case with Timothy Bradley against Juan Manuel Marquez last week, Mike Alvarado's strategic choice will determine the outcome. We all know what Ruslan Provodnikov brings to the table -- determination, volume, toughness and underrated skill.
However, if Alvarado lets himself be drawn into a war, then he'll give Provodnikov his best -- and only -- chance to win. Although the desire to please his hometown crowd may prod him into more of a firefight than is healthy for him, I believe Alvarado's more pragmatic side will win out and we'll see an action-oriented boxing match.
Record: 16-7 [Bradley UD 12 Marquez]
James Gurr, guest/fan, Santa Monica, Caliif
Mike Alvarado UD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: I see this fight following a similar pattern to that of Mike Alvarado versus Brandon Rios II. If Alvarado watched Tim Bradley versus Ruslan Provodnikov, he will know that it is unwise to stand and trade with the Siberian banger for too long.
Mike Alvarado UD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: This one has the makings of what should be a scintillating brawl that could potentially land on many "Fight of the Year" lists. However, I think Mike Alvarado learned his lesson in the first fight against Brandon Rios that you can not go into every fight with the intent to go toe to toe until one man falls.
Record: 4-0 [Bradley SD 12 Marquez]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: I see Mike Alvarado winning easy over Ruslan Provodnikov, because he knows how to box and he knows how to bang. Alvarado proved that against Brandon Rios. The first fight with Rios, he stood in there and got gutty. The second fight, he banged a little bit, but he boxed his ass off also.
Mike Alvarado UD12 over Ruslan Provodnikov: It'd be better for those of us outside the ring if Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov develops into the epic war we all want.
Record: 14-5 [Marquez SD 12 Bradley]
Edward "Revolver" Khabrov, guest/fan, Zaporozhye City, Ukraine
Mike Alvarado UD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: No doubt, Ruslan Provodnikov put on an impressive performance in that bout against Tim Bradley, however, I thought it's not that Provodnikov was so good, but that Bradley simply had an off-night.
Mike Alvarado W12 Ruslan Provodnikov: I actually had Ruslan Provodnikov ahead of Timothy Bradley on my scorecard, but I don't think Mike Alvarado will make the same mistake of coming out swinging at the Russian.
Record: 13-7 [Bradley W 12 Marquez]
Mike Alvarado UD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: Hide the women and children. To be honest and perhaps politically incorrect, I foresee a bloodbath. Ruslan Provodnikov is generally better than people give him credit for, and he got better in that last fight after hooking up with Freddie Roach. We pretty much know what he is going to do.
Record: 16-8 [Marquez W 12 Bradley]
Mike Alvarado UD 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: Ruslan Provodnikov will bring it, of course, but Mike Alvarado can fight and box. He'll need to do both, and will do both, building an early lead and withstanding a furious rally to score a unanimous decision.
Ruslan Provodnikov KO 6 Mike Alvarado: I think that Ruslan Provodnikov is a tougher fighter, and he proved that in his last fight with Timothy Bradley. He's a power puncher. We know that Mike Alvarado is also a great puncher, too.
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: Another tough call, but that is why we are experts. Mike Alvarado is a more complete boxer-fighter, and while Provodnikov is one tough dude. Provodnikov is more one-way, and thus will fall victim to too many sweet combinations.
So I'm going with Alvarado by decision. I would like to say either split-, unanimous or majority, but how can you count on the ability of the judges. They can throw the best thought out plans right out the window.
Record: 13-9 [Bradley W 12 Marquez]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: In Ruslan Provodnikov's last fight, he exceeded people's expectations as he took Tim Bradley to the wire in narrowly losing a decision. That's given him a lot of cache heading into his title try against Mike Alvarado this weekend.
Freddie Roach said he had Provodnikov running Mt. Charleston, but it just isn't the same. As long as Alvarado doesn't get lured into a war, because that's what his fans want to see, I think Alvarado will box Provodnikov similar to the way he did in the Brandon rios rematch earlier this year.
Record: 10-2 [Mayweather UD 12 Alvarez]
Mike Alvarado KO 10 Ruslan Provodnikov: Ruslan Provodnikov has a chance, but I feel like Mike Alvarado will get a late stoppage because of what he has done and what he has shown in the past.
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provdnikov: If Mike Alvarado can do what he did against Brandon Rios last March, he should be able to defeat tough Ruslan Provdnikov on Saturday night. Alvarado used angles, his legs and a steady jab to keep Rios guessing.
Provdinkov packs power in his right hand. His pressure will force Alvarado to rumble at times. I think Alvarado will survive some shaky moments and box his way to a 12-round decision.
Record: 6-4 [Marquez TTKO 11 Bradley]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: In a string of recent hard fights to pick, a win here by Mike Alvarado or Ruslan Provodnikov would not surprise me. This is an excellent, excellent fight between, essentially, the winner and loser of the best fights of 2013.
Record: 17-8 [Marquez KO 6 Bradley]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: Mike Alvarado is definitely in a risky fight this weekend against Ruslan Provodnikov. I expect an entertaining battle to be won on points by Alvarado. I feel Mike simply has the ability and still should have enough left in the tank at age 33 to pull out the win.
Record: 13-5 [Bradley MD 12 Marquez]
Ruslan Provodnikov KO Mike Alvarado: Mike Alvarado is the more complete fighter and will be able to box well early, but Ruslan Provodnikov just keeps coming.
Record: 16-9 [Marquez KO Bradley]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: I think Mike Alvarado will win if he fights intelligently. Alvarado adjusted in his rematch with Brandon Rios, boxing more and engaging less. And he won.
Record: 14-6 [Bradley W 12 Marquez]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Rulan Provodnikov: I think that Mike Alvarado knows how to deal with straight-forward punchers. We saw that in his victory over Brandon Rios and I think that we will see that again against Ruslan Provodnikov.
Record: 22-4 [Bradley W 12 Marquez]
Mike Alvarado TKO 10 over Ruslan Provodnikov: Both guys are big punchers with the power to hurt each other. The Russian will try to out-slug his opponent, but Mike Alvarado will try to make it a more defensive fight. Alvarado is the better boxer.
That, along with the Denver altitude, a partisan home crowd and the likelihood that Ruslan Provodnikov's Hall of Fame trainer, Freddie Roach, will probably not be in his corner -- he’s training Manny Pacquiao in The Philippines -- will help Alvarado keep his belt. The Russian will try to out-slug his opponent, but Alvarado will try to make it a more defensive fight.
Record: 14-5 [Bradley SD 12 Marquez]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: I say that Mike Alvarado is going to take a very close decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. I think Alvarado is riding high after his win over Brandon Rios.
Record: 0-1 [Matthysse KO 7 Garcia]
Mike Alvarado W 12 Ruslan Provodnikov: When you put these two together, you all but guarantee fireworks. It looks like a war of attrition between two relatively evenly-matched 140-pounders.
Record: 8-5 [Bradley W 12 Marquez]
By a score of 23-5, the experts believe that Mike Alvarado will successfully defend his WBO junior welterweight belt against Ruslan Provodnikov.
[Note: Martinez-Burgos was a draw, meaning all who selected otherwise received a loss]
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org