Ruslan Provodnikov said in the pre-fight buildup to the main event from the FirstBank Center in Bloomfield, Colorado, on Saturday night, and on HBO, that his fight with Mike Alvarado wouldn't be decided by strategy or technical skills. Heart and will would be the differencemaker, he said. He was right; Alvarado sat down after the tenth round a beaten man. His corner said they'd pull the plug, and the ref Tony Weeks walked over and asked Alvarado if he wanted to continue. Weeks didn't hear what he needed to, and pulled the plug.
He was almost spent in round eight, going down twice, but showed his own Mile Wide heart by getting his legs back, and firing back. But body shots sapped him, and stole energy from him.
The WBO 140 pound champ Alvie was 141 and then came back, and made 139.8 on Friday, while Provo was 139.8 at the weigh-in. Alvie is 33 to 29 for Ruslan, and was 157 on fight night, versus 148 for the Siberian.
The loser went 182-563 to 206-597 for the winner.
After the bout, Max Kellerman spoke to Ruslan. The winner said he broke the champ's will because he wanted to please his team. How'd he do it? He had the support of his mom, his loved ones, his team. Freddie Roach helped him immensely, too, he said. He called Marvin Somodio the "Filipino Freddie Roach." And next? Let me rest and think on it, he said.
Ruslan said his urine after his last fight, against Tim Bradley, was black, proving how hard he was pushed in that bout. It was good to see a Friday Night Fights staple getting another big stage opportunity. It was also good to see Alvarado, who had some brushes with misbehavior and the ramifications of that, getting to this point, getting to a stage of maturity that allowed him to focus on fighting.
Provo trained with Freddie Roach but Marvin Somodia worked his corner, with Roach training Manny Pacquiao for his Nov. 23 clash with Brandon Rios. Alvie last fought against Brandon Rios, winning a UD12, in March, after dropping a TKO7 loss to Rios previously.
Top Rank was lead promoter for the card. One dollar from each ticket sold went to help Colorado flood victims, a nice touch.
In the first, the 34-1 Alvie was backing up. A right hurt Alvie. It was toe to toe from early on. The champ’s corner told him to jab, and don’t be stationary.
In the second, the 22-2 Provo stalked, as Alvie moved more. A right buzzed Provo who wasn’t able to cut off the ring so well in this one. The hometowner went lefty some, just to mix it up
In the third, Mike stood close but was busier, and didn’t let Provo be busy. Late in the round he moved more, and was mixing his game up so smartly
In the fourth, the lefty Alvie went back and forth. He dipped forward and made Ruslan miss long often and made himself hard to hit by various means. Uppercuts worked for Alvie in tight, and this round was not a “running” round for Mike. Somodio asked for body work after the round.
In the fifth, Ruslan was the busier man. In the sixth, Alvie started busy. Ruslan tossed a succession of left hooks then. Lead rights landed for Mike, who was the smarter boxer in the round.
In the seventh, Alvie dictated distance. He worked body shots, but a sharp right scored late for Provo. The Siberian’s corner told him he was winning after. Some blood appeared on his right eye. Alvie’s right eye was swollen. In the eighth, Alvie went down, at 1:55, for the first time in his career. Body work hurt Alvie. He was up at nine plus. He went down at 1:16, again. About ten shots landed. But he got his legs, and fired a left hook.
In the ninth, Alvie ate some clean shots and also launched his own right. A left hook buzzed the Colorado man. He was told he needed a KO to win.
In the tenth, a right landed for Alvie. But rights to the body looked harsh, by Ruslan. He got buzzed bad late by Ruslan.
What can one say, what a fantastic fight back and forth with the Russian composing himself and adjusting after Alvarado adjusted and started winning early rounds. a fight of skill, grit, determination and heart from both fighters.
happy to see Ruslan win the title, he deserved it against Bradley and it is nice to see him receive it legitimately.
Alvarado should move up to ww where he can perhaps win another title.
Immensely satisfying... Its good to see the humble hard working, meat and potatoes, blue collar banger get the win. Not that Alvarado doesn't fit in that category. But Provodnikov has that old school vibe like former middleweight champ Gene Fulmer and the Onion Farmer.
Honestly couldn't pick a winner... Which is rare for me... I initially picked Provodnikov then wavered toward Alvarado because of his punching power,.... superior boxing ability and the hometown advantage.
Both fighters fulfilled my preflight picks...but ultimately the much improved Provonikov proved to be the more relentless and resiliant of the two....... Kudos to the Attack Attack Attack School of Roach and the Wildcard Gym.
Whose next ? Bradley? Maidana? Broner? Alexander? Certainly not Khan....and unfortunately not GoldenBoy promoted Garcia..or Mattysse.
I'd even like to see him against Mayweather...he's one of the few fighters who could force Money to punch consistently with bad intentions.
Good win...Hope he gets a good contender in his next fight.
First of all that wasn't Provodnikov's mother. They don't look anything alike. The fight I would really, really like to see would be Rios vs. Provodnikov. That would be one hell of a match up. Those guys are equally tough. While Alvarado is just as much a warrior as those two I think they are just a tad tougher all around. That would be my dream match. Unfortunately Rios is not available. Still there are some good fights to be made at 140, 147. Yeah and Matthysse would be a good one too.
Very good fight tonight. Alvarado must have been truly broken to quit on his stool in front of his home fans like that. I'm sure Mike will regret that forever. Provodnikov is a much better fighter than I thought he was. He applied pressure until his man broke. Alot of good fights lie ahead for Provo. Fans will always fill seats for action/pressure fighters like that.
So many things to say from last night. Got a few pics that I need to get out of my phone, but thought I'd at least make a preliminary post here since I basically said I would. Here are seven takeaways:
1) It was great. Really enjoyed being there. I sat next to Mike Alvarado's cousin. The place was krazy in support of Mike.*
2) Provodnikov is as brutal as a Siberian winter. He's a cyborg. He's a Russian bear, impervious to pain. It's hard for me to imagine him ever being stopped (which he hasn't been). He smiles whenever his face is smashed, then continues walking you down. That's got to be disheartening.
3) However, even given #2 above, Mike's refusal to come out for round 11 was shocking to the crowd. We'd all seen the amazing signature victories MA had pulled out before in similar circumstances (Prescott, Rios). The place was amped with expectation. We were going to explode with another thunderous wave of deafening support - louder than ever, and then . . . wha? .... what? He's stopping on his stool? It's over!
4) I thought referee Tony Weeks did a great job. I agree with him not stopping the fight earlier.
5) Enormous credit to Ruslan, obviously, and as I said before the fight on here, I like him. However, Alvarado did not "flop" in front of his hometown fans -- far from it. Provo's face was testimony to the fact that Mike doled out a beating -- just not enough to stop this truly fearsome opponent. Provo said it was going to be a matter of will in the end, and no one could've said it better.
6) Even though I hate and am repelled by 'star worship', there is something kind of fun about seeing 'TV personalities' in person, as many of you know. The order in which I did was Roy Jones (pic later), Harold Lederman (round in every way), Jim Lampley (was that his wife & son?), Max Kellerman (right there in his chair getting his make-up applied), Larry Merchant (whom I didn't expect to be there), and Michael Buffer (you know it's an event when ...). BTW, Roy was so close I could easily have called to him and probably talked, but why? I feel sorry for the way people like him are given no space to breathe. "Roy! Roy! Roy! ..." He either had to consent and come pose for a hundred pics with people he doesn't know from Adam (which he did), or pretend to ignore it, which makes him look aloof. Yucky scene to me.
7) Two fights in the crowd broke out (LOTS of alcohol being consumed, btw), one right in front of me. I'll be honest w/you fellas, it got just a tad concerning until yellow-shirted security (each guy approaching 3 bills in weight, seriously) literally pounced on the main perpetrators, removed them, and brought it to a stop. I was really hoping the chaos wouldn't spread and engulf me, you know? (Remember the Bowe-Golota post-fight brawl? Didn't want that.)
* Though in the main I thought the crowd was great in throwing huge support behind their local hero (Alvarado), I must admit I was disappointed in my fellow Coloradans by two things in particular last night. First, some (not all) booed all the way through the (LONG!) Russian national anthem. But secondly, and perhaps even worse, after Provodnikov won a tremendously well-deserved victory, they booed him. What a total lack of class. I, and a few others, applauded him.
I'm sure I'm leaving much out, but hope that's all right for a start.