When Ruslan Provodnikov battered Mike Alvarado from pillar to post in their meeting last October, forcing the reigning WBO junior welterweight titleholder to retire on his stool at the conclusion of the ninth round, he hoped it would be a watershed moment.
Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, marauding Russian, he was unable to tempt any of the big names at 140 or even 147 pounds into the ring.
"I'm ready to fight anybody," Provodnikov told RingTV.com through his manager, Vadim Kornilov. "[Juan Manuel] Marquez didn’t want to fight me, [Manny] Pacquiao was very close to being made but at the last moment, they chose [Tim] Bradley."
Like the professional he is, Provodnikov (23-2, 16 knockouts) isn't looking past Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs), whom he faces Saturday in his maiden defense from Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY.
"[It’s a] tough fight just like all of my fights before. I'm taking this fight as serious as any other fight. It's like another title shot for me." said Provodnikov.
His coming-out party was when he took Tim Bradley to the very edge of defeat 15 months ago in THE RING's "2013 Fight of the Year."
Recently, the "Siberian Rocky" was featured on the HBO mini-series 2 Days: Ruslan Provodnikov.
Provodnikov-Algieri headlines HBO's Boxing After Dark and the co-feature sees Demetrius Andrade look to make a successful first defense of his WBO junior middleweight title when he faces his mandatory challenger, Britain's Brian Rose. The telecast begins at 10 p.m., ET/PT.
Anson Wainwright – You face Chris Algieri on Saturday. What are your thoughts on that fight?
Ruslan Provodnikov – [It’s a] tough fight just like all of my fights before. I'm taking this fight as serious as any other fight. It's like another title shot for me.
AW – What do you feel Algieri brings to this fight? What are his strengths and weaknesses?
RP – Algieri is a good boxer and a good mover.
AW – Having beaten Mike Alvarado in your last fight, you were unable to attract one of the big names at 140 to 147 to fight you.
RP – [Juan Manuel] Marquez and [Manny] Pacquiao. Marquez didn’t want to fight me; Pacquiao was very close to being made but at the last moment, they chose [Tim] Bradley. That is only for now…big fights will happen soon. I'm ready to fight anybody.
AW – Talk us through the Mike Alvarado fight.
RP – It went just as I planned. I had to break him to beat him and I did that. I felt like I was at home. The climate was very similar to the climate in Russia and there was a lot of Russians living there, so I felt great being there. The fight went just the way I thought it would go. It was a back-and-forth war and only the one with stronger will and character could win the fight.
AW – What did it mean to you to win the world title? Did winning the title change your life in any way?
RP – It was my dream…It didn't change my life much; I'm the same person. Of course, I have to admit it made my life a little easier. I can take care of my family and put food on my table.
AW – Without overlooking Algieri, who are you targeting?
RP – Only the best in my division [Floyd] Mayweather, Marquez, Pacquiao and Bradley!
AW – What goals do you have left in boxing?
RP – Most of them, I have achieved already. I always wanted to become a world champion, which I did. Now I want to make history by fighting the best fighters in my division and beating them.
AW – The Tim Bradley fight and the Mike Alvarado fight were hard fights; they obviously put wear and tear on your body. Can you tell us how you felt after each fight and how long it took you physically and mentally to get past those fights?
RP – Last year has been the toughest year of my life. I feel great though. Every training camp, I'm only getting better.
AW – Was the key to both of those fights that you had several months to let your body heal?
RP – Definitely, I always need a good amount of time to recuperate after such hard fights.
AW – How is life different in America compared to Russia?
RP – America is the world arena of boxing.
AW – Do you have a message for Algieri?
RP – I hope he takes this fight as seriously as I took my chances in boxing. If not, he will have slim chances to win.