Friday, November 6, 2015

Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Jesus Alvarez: A Night of Champions in Monte Carlo

Photo Source: The Ring

By Peter Silkov


Ruslan Provodnikov (24-4-0) returns to the ring tomorrow for what he has admitted is his last chance to reach the top of the boxing tree. The ‘Siberian Rocky’ is a hugely popular figure with boxing fans because of his all-action style, and the fact that he is never in a dull fight. Provodnikov will face Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez (14-0) at the Salle des √Čtoiles, in Monte Carlo, Monaco, at 6:30 p.m. CET or 12:30 p.m. ET.

Provodnikov’s 2013 war with Timothy Bradley Jr. will go down as one of the fights of the decade. In many ways, the Siberian slugger is a throwback to the rugged fighters of the past who ducked nobody, and fought every round, of every fight, as if it were their last. Yet, Provodnikov’s gung-ho attitude has come at a price for him. While it has made him hugely popular among fans, it has also meant that every fight he is in is a grueling battle of attrition, and eventually such wars will catch up with a fighter.

Since his two stand out performances in 2013, his defeat by Bradley (after a thrilling fight, which many thought he was unlucky to lose), and his impressively brutal victory over Mike Alvarado, the ‘Siberian Rocky’ has gone 1-2 in his last 3 contests.  First, there was the shock point’s defeat to Chris Algieri, which cost Provodnikov the WBO world light welterweight title he had won against Alvarado. The decision was highly debatable, and the fact that Provodnikov’s then promoter, Bob Arum, seemed to favour an Algieri victory before the fight, just added to the bad smell left behind in the fight’s aftermath.  Algieri went on to fight Manny Pacquiao in his next fight, the kind of match that  Provodnikov has been hoping to get for some time. 

Shorn of his world title, Provodnikov scored a stoppage victory over a extremely battle-weary Jose Luis Castillo at the end of 2014, and then in his only fight so far of this year, he lost a point’s decision to Lucas Matthysse. The Matthysse defeat, though competitive, left some with the feeling that at 31 years old, the wars had began to take a toll upon Provodnikov.  Against Matthysse, the ‘Siberian Rocky’ looked at times painfully predictable.  For all his heart and strength, Provodnikov looked like a fighter in need of some new tricks to fall back on when his aggressive attacking style proves to be not enough.  A change was needed. 

Provodnikov and his management saw themselves that a change was needed, or else Provodnikov was in danger of slipping out of world title contention.  Since the Matthysse defeat, Provodnikov has switched trainers, leaving behind Freddie Roach in order to team up with Joel Diaz. It is well known that Roach, for all his ability as a trainer, has been unable to provide the kind of one-on-one attention that Provodnikov has needed.  Tomorrow, Novemeber 7, Provodnikov faces the unbeaten Jesus Pridencio Alvarez Rodriguez in Monte Carlo.  Rodriguez is a mystery man, with his record of 14-0 (11koes).  Can Provodnikov rekindle his career tomorrow? And perhaps show us that he has leaned some new tricks from new trainer Joel Diaz.


Fighthub interviews Provodnikov leading up to bout on Saturday:

Copyright © 2015 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to www.theboxingglove.com
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