Ruslan Provodnikov dropped Mike Alvarado twice in the eighth round of their WBO 140-pound title bout on Saturday in Broomfield, Colorado, and he pressed Alvarado until the hometown favorite remained on his stool after the 10th round.
Provodnikov (23-2, 16 knockouts) earned the WBO belt with a hard-fought technical stoppage but keeping his word by breaking Alvarado’s will was more important to the 29-year-old Russian slugger.
“I knew what I had to do (and that) is break him,” Provodnikov told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight. “I don’t care about the titles. It’s all about (being) the warrior. I had to break his spirit.”
Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs), a 33-year-old Denver native, boxed and slugged well in spots against Provodnikov’s relentless pressure during the first seven rounds of an even fight. However, Provodnikov was able to stun Alvarado with left hooks in rounds six and seven and when he added hard rights to the body in the eighth, he was able to put the defending beltholder agains the ropes and hurt him enough to force him to the canvas — twice.
“He shook me up with a lot of shots and I wasn’t able to recover like I usually do,” Alvarado admitted after the fight. “There’s no excuses at all. I give all the respect to him. I was winning the fight, I was boxing him good, but I gave him a little too much. I was keeping him out as much as I could, but styles make fights and he’s the winner.”
A full ringside report from Mark E. Ortega will be posted sortly.