Fans have raved about this past Saturday’s unanimous decision by Tim Bradley over Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown to retain his WBO welterweight title he won by disputed split-decision in June over Manny Pacquiao.
In December, Pacquiao was knocked out in the sixth round in the Boxing Writers’ Association’s Fight-of-The-Year by Juan Manuel Marquez, who was 0-2-1 against Pacquiao coming into that bout.
On March 30, there will be a rematch of October’s bloody Fight-of-The-Year-caliber clash between junior welterweights Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado. Rios (31-0-1, 23 knockouts) became the first man to stop Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs), doing so by seventh-round knockout.
All six of the above fighters are promoted by Top Rank, whose CEO, Bob Arum, entertained the thought of matching the six boxers.
“Look, the fans are not stupid. They want to see action. Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios are action fighters. Timothy Bradley showed that he’s an action fighter,” said Arum, during a Thursday conference call promoting Rios-Alvarado II at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“Juan Manuel Marquez is an action fighter. Manny Pacquiao is an action fighter. Ruslan Provodnikov is an action fighter. They don’t play around. They don’t dance around. They fight. That’s what the public wants to see. So we’ll mix and match as we go on, because they’re the big fights that people want to see, and there is the way that the fighters can be rewarded monetarily.”
RIOS, ALVARADO AS IMPRESSED WITH BRADLEY-PROVODNIKOV AS WITH THEIR OWN
Rios said he watched the Bradley fight with enthusiasm.
“I was watching the fight. I was almost jumping on the T.V. I loved that fight. It brought back memories. I was like, these guys showed the warrior spirit and it was awesome,” said Rios.
“They both went at it. Like they said, Bradley came out with a different game plan. He came out to show that he’s a warrior and that he’s a fighter and that’s exactly what happened.”
“I thought Bradley got a good opportunity to prove himself, show his heart and prove that he could pull through after being knocked out on his feet pretty much,” said Alvarado, who briefly complained about a premature stoppage against Rios.
“I thought that the referee was pretty fair about that, and that’s why I was kind of disappointed when I lost. Bradley pulled it off, and I was happy for him.”
Still, Rios can’t get enough of his own clash with Rios.
“I was watching it the other day. After I wake up in the morning and I get done running, I watch it before and after. I watch it before I go to the gym. I watch it before I go to sleep. It’s the same s–t. I’m a fan of our fight, and I’m a fan of Bradley and Provodnikov,” said Rios.
“I was very amazed. It was almost like Arturo Gatti and Micky Ward fight. I couldn’t believe that we stood up to that. We were both landing big shots on each other and we were still going at it in a toe-to-toe battle in the middle of the ring. I’m a big fan of mine and of his.”
Alvarado has also reviewed his fight with Rios, although, maybe not as much as his rival.
“I’ve watched the fight a few times, but I know it like the back of my hand, so I really don’t have to go over it too much,” said Alvarado. “It’s going to be the same type of fight. I’ll make some different adjustments, but we’re just going to do it again.”
ALVARADO ADDRESSES FACIAL INJURIES
During the airing of HBO’s Road to Rios/Alvarado II, Alvarado was shown with two bruises on the right side of his face. Alvarado attributed the injuries to “an outside the ring” incident.
“It was just a little accident. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and whatever,” said Alvarado, who did not elaborate. “I’m just focused on the fight. I’m fine. I’m just focused on this fight coming up. I’m just focused on this fight. It’s nothing.”
ARUM TO ALVARADO AND RIOS: ‘DON’T SMOKE A JOINT BEFORE THE FIGHT’
On Wednesday, Arum expressed outrage at what he called a “disparity” between separate decisions rendered by The Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding the positive, post-fight drug tests of lightweight prospect Mickey Bey, of Cleveland, and Mexican former WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
On Wednesday, the NSAC voted 3-2 to suspend and fine Bey for having tested positive for high levels of testosterone in the wake of his third-round knockout of Robert Rodriguez on Feb. 2 at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Bey was suspended for three months, fined $1,000 of his $8,000 purse, and his victory over Rodriguez will be declared a no-contest, according to NSAC executive director Keith Kizer. While Nevada’s rules allow for a maximum testosterone to epitestosterone ratio of six-to-one, Bey’s was greater than 30-to-one, according to Kizer.
Last month, the NSAC voted 3-2 to fine Chavez $900,000 and suspend him for nine months as a result of his testing positive for marijuana metabolites after his unanimous-decision loss to RING champion Sergio Martinez last September in Las Vegas.
The fine represented 30 percent of Chavez’s $3 million purse and the suspension began from the date of his fight with Martinez. Chavez must also produce a clean urine sample to the NSAC prior to his next fight in Las Vegas, in accordance with the ruling.
Chavez’s fine was the second-biggest ever in NSAC history, the other being Mike Tyson’s $3 million for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear. The old record for No. 2 was $200,000 against Bernard Hopkins when he pushed Winky Wright at the weigh-in according to Kizer.
Arum was in a better mood, telling Rios and Alvarado not to “smoke a joint” prior to their bout.
“One bit of advice that I want to give to both fighters is that nobody smoke a joint,” said Arum. “Wait until after the fight’s over and then we’ll all have a good toke.”
Rios joked that his warning had come too late.
“I’m smoking right now. We’re doing the press conference,” said Rios, feigning a cough. “And I was smoking a joint while we were talking. Man, that’s a good joint.”
TERENCE CRAWFORD REPLACES INJURED KHABIB ALLAKHVERDIEV VS. BREIDIS PRESCOTT
Russian WBA interim junior welterweight beltholder Khabib Allakhverdiev has an elbow injury that forced him out of his fight with Colombian Breidis Prescott on the Rios-Alvarado undercard, and will be replaced by Nebraska’s Terence Crawford (10-9, 15 KOs), who has knocked out his past four opponents.
“Khabib’s doctors advised him not to fight, so he’s out. We’re moving Terence Crawford to that spot, and he’s going to fight Breidis Prescott. “So it’s a great opportunity now for Crawford to be on HBO.”
VENROY JULY TURNS TO PROMOTING
Although cruiserweight Venroy “Hard Work” July (13-1-2, 6 KOs), a native of St. Catherine, Jamaica, was stopped in the third round of last month’s clash with Elvin Sanchez (6-2-1, 5 KOs), of Paterson, N.J., to end his streak of knockouts at two, you can’t keep a good man down.
A 29-year-old resident of Suitland, Md., July is an attorney in Baltimore who is trained by Adrian Davis, who once trained Hasim Rahman to an upset fifth-round knockout that dethroned Lennox Lewis as undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in April of 2001.
But while preparing for his next fight, July has gone to work as a promoter. July’s Hardwork Promotions will produce seven, four-round bouts, entitled, “Dedication” from the Frederick Fight Club on Jefferson Street, Frederick, Md.
The card will feature seven with Frederick junior middleweight Dillon Hayman (3-0, 2 KOs) against Stanley Harvey (1-3, 1 KO). As an amateur, Hayman won the 2011 Maryland Golden Gloves Champion at 152 pounds, and he is now a junior college freshman.
Frederick light heavyweight Devar Ferhadì (1-0, 1 KO) will meet Jason Bakanowski. Nicknamed “The Warrior,” Ferhadi stopped his first opponent with a vicious body shot.
Light heavyweight Eric Govan will make his professional debut against Mark Baltimore (1-1, 1 KO), of Hillcrest Heights, Md., and welterweight Gerome Quigley, of Baltimore, will be in his first professional bout against Tommy Ayres.
Govan has trained with ex-beltholders William Joppy and Paul “The Punisher” Williams. Quigley was 68-5 as an amateur.
Heavyweight Ytalo Perea will make his pro debut against Chris Gordon. An accomplished, Perea represented Ecuador in the 2012 Olympics and has beaten former U.S. Olympian Dominic Breazeale.
In another bout, cruiserweight Zakki Scott (2-0, 1 KO), of Temple Hills, will meet Travis Reeves.
Tickets for “Dedication” are priced at $40 (general admission) and $60 (VIP) are on sale now at two Maryland locations: Champion Boxing Fitness, located at 11540A Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md, 20852, and Frederick Fight Club, located at 244 S. Jefferson Street, Frederick, Maryland, 21701.
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com