ALVARADO-PROVODNIKOV - EXPECT BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS! BY @JAMESMCKNIGHT83
On October 19, Denver hosts its first World title fight since September 2000 when "Mile High" Mike Alvarado aims to defend the interim WBO junior welterweight title in his hometown at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Denver, Colorado. Standing in his way of sealing victory on this special occasion is Russian, Ruslan Provodnikov, who dubs himself the "Siberian Rocky".
Alvarado (34-1-0, 23 KO's) versus Provodnikov (22-2-0, 15 KO's), has all the ingredients to be an explosive encounter and it could be a serious contender for the 2013 fight of the year; we are just waiting to see whether it lives up to the hype that's surrounding it.
Both fighters enter this fight after arguably their career best performances earlier this year, which were both brutal battles.
Alvarado, 33, avenged an October 2012 loss to Brandon Rios in March by defeating "Bam Bam" after 12 enthralling rounds to claim the belt he now possesses. Provodnikov, 29, inflicted a great deal of punishment upon Timothy Bradley during their WBO welterweight title fight, also in March, but despite pushing "Desert Storm" all the way (and knocking him down in the 12th round), the Russian lost a unanimous decision.
If a fighter employs the right tactics during a fight against a dangerous opponent (Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse and Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez being two recent examples), a fighter will reap the benefits.
To my eyes, Alvarado is technically more gifted than his Russian foe and if "Mile High" sticks to a gameplan he could well outbox Provodnikov over 12 rounds. Alvarado can also give it some when required and he may just test Provodnikov's resolve at critical points during the fight.
But, those gruelling affairs Alvarado had with Rios may have taken their toll on him, leaving dinner served on a plate for the "Siberian Rocky" to devour. However, is Provodnikov as dangerous as the Bradley fight suggests, because if Alvarado does stick to his boxing will he come unstuck. The Russian is predominantly a slugger, but he may need to show us a bit more to his game on the night.
For me, Provodnikov needs to stay as busy as possible throughout the contest, keeping the pressure on constantly and not allowing Alvarado to get into any sort of rhythm. Both fighters have shown they have tons of heart in previous fights, and I expect both to show a great deal of heart when they collide. This may come down who wants to win the most. I don't expect either fighter to give in one bit, but I expect the Man with the right tactics to get the job done. It's a tough fight to call, it really is, but I'm picking Alvarado to beat Provodnikov via unanimous decision.
A win here for either Alvarado or Provodnikov and their stock would rise, putting them in a better position to challenge the cream of the crop in the division.