WBO junior welterweight titleholer Mike Alvarado claims that he will be able to box whenever necessary against Ruslan Provodnikov on Saturday night, whereas Provodnikov appears to be saying that Alvarado may run but he can’t hide.
Alvarado (34-1, 23 knockouts) 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.
“We’ve both proven ourselves by being in the wars that we’ve been in,” said Alvarado, who will face Provodnikov in an HBO-televised bout at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a suburb of Denver, near Alvardo’s hometown of Thornton. “It’s only shown that this fight has war written all over it again. There is a chance that this fight could turn that way again. I have a good game plan. I know that I’m going to box the way that I need to to win this fight.
“But you never know. This fight can always turn into a crazy war. I mean, we could see Rios-Alvarado I all over again, but I’m not expecting that to happen just because of the way that I’ve been training. I’m seasoned as a professional athlete in this boxing game, so I know that I’m going to stay strong in boxing and being focused on my game plan and to make the fight go the way that I need it to go. Not to get into that kind of war, but like I said, you never know. That one shot could change that fight around.”
Meanwhile, Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) scored a 12th-round knockdown during a unanimous-decision loss in his last fight with Tim Bradley, who successfully defended the belt he won by split decision over Manny Pacquiao last June.
“Mike said himself that he wants to try to box me, but, I’m ready for anything. I can also box. I’m not only a brawler. I can also box. We can compete with any style that he chooses. My opinion is that if Mike wants to box with me, I think that it might be worse for him and better for me,” said Provodnikov, who has promised that his bout with Alvarado will be “a street fight.”
“I think that Mike is a much better fighter than he is a boxer. I think that we’re going to have to fight, no matter what. I don’t know if it’s going to be a ‘one punch’ like Mike said. I don’t think that anybody can run from me. I don’t think that he will be able to box as well as he thinks, so I think that this is going to turn into a fight. If I made Timothy Bradley fight me, then I don’t see anybody else being able to run away and box me.”
“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.”
Alvarado is airing at 9:45 ET/P in advance of the network’s broadcast of the Legendary Nights documentary based on the Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward trilogy.
“That’s kind of scary, man. Those guys were literally killing each other in there. I’m like, that’s a big step up,” said Alvarado, referring to his bout with Provodnikov being positioned before the Gatti-Ward tribute. “Those are some big names to categorize ourselves with. But it’s still a pleasure to be in that kind of fight. We’ll see what happens. I’m ready to perform and to show greatness.”
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.
“If you watch our fights with Herrera, you can see that Herrera was fighting Mike toe-to-toe, and that was just a different style of a fight. When I fought him, he was just moving a lot and clinching a lot and he didn’t really want to fight me,” said Provodnikov.
“He won the fight by holding and moving around. It was a great fight and a close fight. That was a turning point for me, and now, I’m training with the best trainer and I have a different type of a training camp to prepare for my fights. I have more experience now and I’m a different fighter now.”
Through his manager and translator, Vadim Kornilov, Provodnikov said that Roach is currently in General Santos City Philippines, where he is training Pacquiao for next month’s fight with Brandon Rios that will happen on Nov. 24 in Macau.
“From the beginning, we knew that there was a chance that Freddie might not be in the corner on the day of the fight and we knew that he might have to go and help Manny. We started out the training a little bit earlier, and we trained with Freddie for eight weeks, exactly, and it’s been an awesome training camp. All we’ve been working on is how we could beat Mike Alvarado. Obviously, it’s all come together,” said Provodnikov, who also shared Roach with three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto in advance of Cotto’s Oct. 5 third-round knockout of Delvin Rodriguez.
“I’m going to have Freddie’s head assistant, Marvin Somodio, in my corner. He’s been there every day as well, just like Freddie. I know what to do once the fight comes, and I am not worried about Freddie not being there. He’s obviously the backbone of our team, and he’s the captain, and I hope that he can be there, and there is still a chance that he’ll be there on fight night. But I’m ready for this fight…Freddie has not actually confirmed that he is not going to be there on fight night, but it’s just something that we’re expecting because he’s out there training Manny right now. We just don’t know yet.”
At any rate, Provodnikov enters the fight with Alvarado having gained confidence in the fact that he hurt and damaged Bradley more than either Pacquiao or Marquez did.
“I didn’t come into the fight [with Bradley] to move around and box. I came into the fight to win the fight,” said Provodnikov. “I think that’s why our fight went the way that it did. It’s a lot easier to box, and I know that fighting is a risk. But I took that risk, and I did what I had to do.”
In the end, however, Alvarado believes that his versatility will give him the edge and the victory before his home town fans.
“I think that my boxing will be the difference, and experimenting with that in my last fight with Rios showed me that and gave me that confidence that I can adjust from being in that kind of a fight,” said Alvarado.
“So just sticking to my game plan and having that focus and not letting him break me into getting into a fight like is going to be a big key. I’m very hyped up for this moment in my life, and I’m just ready to do what I’m meant to do.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com