Ruslan Provodnikov already has agreed to an Oct. 19 clash against Mike Alvarado, who was scheduled to meet with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum in Las Vegas on Monday to clear up any issues the fighter has regarding a battle for WBO’s junior welterweight belt.
Alvarado (34-1, 23 knockouts) had expressed discontent on his Twitter account recently over the money being offered by Top Rank for the bout with Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs), which is being targeted for HBO in Denver, near Alvarado’s hometown of Thornton, Colo.
Coming off a unanimous decision loss in March to WBO beltholder Tim Bradley, whom he floored in the 12th round, Provodnikov shared his thoughts during this Q&A with RingTV.com regarding the Bradley fight as well as those on a potential bout with Alvarado, who was last in the ring for a unanimous-decision win over Brandon Rios in March that avenged his seventh-round stoppage loss last October.
Translated by manager Vadim Kornilov.
RingTV.com: What did you learn from your last fight with Bradley?
Ruslan Provodnikov: I learned that experience is very important, and I think that I got a little hot-headed and really was anxious to finish the fight.
I should have been a little more patient, and I think I would have been able to get a unanimous decision or finish the fight. But this was the type of fight that I got the experience that I never got before in all my fights put together.
RingTV.com: How important was it for you to establish the early pressure and land that early punch that appeared to drop Bradley?
RP: I knew that once he felt my power, he would start moving. I followed the game plan that Freddie Roach and I worked on throughout training camp. I knew I needed to take the initiative and exchange with him, and it worked well.
RingTV.com: Did you feel that the first discounted knockdown was truly a knockdown?
RP: Definitely. Timothy was falling to the ground twice, even if the referee thought that he was pushed down to the floors the first time. The second time, he fell down, and you can’t call it a slip.
He was rolling all over the floor. But it was the referee’s decision, and I want to leave this on his conscience. I think everybody saw what really happened. He was hurt pretty bad in both of the first two rounds.
RingTV.com: How much do you fee that the effect did the referee’s decision not to call that knockdown have on the overall score of the fight?
RP: I think that the judges had the fight scored right. They cannot count 8-to-10 rounds on their own will as far as I understand.
But I think the referee might have saved Timothy his belt. But he also, put his hometown fighter in danger by having him fight with a concussion throughout the whole fight.
If he called the knockdowns in the first and possibly the second round, he might have thought about stopping the fight somewhere there also. I mean, Timothy was hurt pretty bad. I felt bad for him when I watched the fight later.
RingTV.com: How close were you to stopping Bradley in the final round?
RP: I think I did stop him. The bell pretty much saved him. If we had another 10 to 15 seconds, I think the fight would be over. But he fought like a warrior. He fought his heart out, and I give him a lot of respect for that.
RingTV.com: Did you feel his punches?
RP: He threw a lot of punches, but they were not very powerful. I was not hurt any time throughout the fight.
RP: Experience is very important. It can mean everything in whether you win a fight or not. I had the conditioning, my great team, the best trainers.
But I did not have the experience of being in a world title fight in front of a huge crowd, and fighting a big star like Timothy Bradley.
I think I wanted the knockout so bad that I completely forgot about my patience and a little bit about the game plan.
I only got my thinking back towards the last three rounds of the fight. I felt like I almost had the title in my hands. I wanted it really bad.
RP: That is all I want is to fight the best. I know a lot of fighters begin to pick and choose, especially after they think they mean something. I don’t really care.
I know that when I fight the best, great fights will happen, and it will make the promoters, the fans, and the TV networks happy. That’s what it’s all about, being a warrior and fighting the best fighters you can.
That’s what I’m here for. Alvarado is one of the best fighters in my division right now. HBO and our fans want to see the fight, that’s why I want the fight.
I don’t see the point when other fighters act as if they are stars when no one really knows who they are and especially who they fought. I look at boxing as a professional sport and not only show business.
I want to become a star by doing what I do best, and that’s fighting the best in the sport. I don’t need a P.R. company to work on making me known. I will do it myself in the ring.
RingTV.com: Do you feel that Alvarado is as good as Bradley?
RP: I think Mike Alvarado is a great fighter. Bradley and Alvarado are different style fighters, and it’s hard to compare them. But I think Alvarado and I will have a much better fight than I did with Bradley.
If people are saying that my fight with Bradley and the Alvarado-Rios rematch are runners-up for Fight of The Year, I’m pretty sure my fight with Alvarado will easily overcome both of those fights.
RingTV.com: What are the various differences that will be presented in a fight with Alvarado as opposed to Bradley?
RP: The difference is that Mike Alvarado and I will fight a toe-to-toe war. We’re both brawlers. We will go at each other until it’s over.
I always liked fighting fighters that come to fight, and I think Mike Alvarado will usually accept a toe-to-toe challenge most of the time.
That’s when Fights of The Year are made.
When I fought Timothy Bradley, some of the middle rounds were not exciting because Bradley started running a lot. But Alvarado is a different story.
RingTV.com: What did you learn about Alvarado from having watched his two fights with Rios?
RP: He is a great warrior and he comes to fight.
RingTV.com: Will you lose anything in terms of power by returning to the 140-pound weight class?
RP: No. As I’ve said before, I feel great in both 140 and 147.
RP: I never make predictions for fights. In boxing, you never know what will happen in the ring until the fight happens and the styles clash.
I know for sure that both him and I will fight until the end, and this will be a Fight of The Year candidate. I know everybody who watches this fight will be very pleased.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com