HBO’s Jim Lampley will be ringside as both a fan and a commentator on Saturday night when Ruslan Provodnikov challenges WBO junior welterweight titleholer Mike Alvarado near Alvarado’s hometown in Colorado.
“Wow, can’t wait,” said Lampley, who just worked WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley’s split-decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez on HBO Pay Per View. “Alvarado and Provodnikov is a tremendously exciting matchup because you know that it’s going to be a war.”
In his last fight, Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) scored a 12th-round knockdown during a unanimous-decision loss to Bradley, who successfully defended the belt he won by split decision over Manny Pacquiao last June.
Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) 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.
“Both guys are very punishing, hard-hitting fighters, but not with the kind of knockout power that ends the fight suddenly,” said Lampley. “I expect both of them to be hurt at some time or another, but I expect the fight to go rounds.”
The other setback for Provodnikov was in January of 2011 by unanimous decision against Mauricio Herrera, whom Alvarado unanimously decisioned prior to his two bouts with Rios. Provodnikov is trained by Freddie Roach.
“I think that Alvarado, in the last six rounds of the second fight with Rios, proved himself as a boxer,” said Lampley. “I haven’t seen Provodnikov prove himself as a boxer that way, but I have to give Alvarado the advantage, fighting on home turf in Denver.”
Provodnikov has promised that his bout with Alvarado will be “a street fight.”
“Mike is a very experienced boxer. He has strong character. It’s a clash of two characters. Two wills,” said Provodnikov. “Whoever has the stronger will is going to win. Whoever can break the other’s will is going to win. It’s not going to be about technique. Simply war. It’s just going to be a street fight. I promise you that.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com