Earlier this year both fighters took part in fights that could be Fight Of The Year; the next logical step would be to put them in the ring against each other. I know, your thinking the same thing I am, there is logic in boxing? Well there is, sometimes, and tonight it brought us Mike Alvarado v. Ruslan Provodnikov.
When the first bell rang there wasn’t much time to warm up, Provodnikov was applying pressure early, landing right hands freely, It became clear that this fight would be in a phone booth if Provodnikov had anything to say about it. Alvarado, appearing to be cut, landed a few strong punches towards the end of the round.
Alvarado boxed more in the second round and began to limit the effectiveness of Provodnikov and apply his defense, but it was not long before Provodnikov got close. However, Alvarado dominated the round, controlling the pace, and briefly stunned Provodnikov with a stiff right hand.
In round three it became clear that no matter what style the fight was fought in, it would go into the books as a good fight, another round full of boxing with segments of Provodnikov getting close. Alvarado continued to land clean shots from afar while Provodnikov landed clean right hands when inside. The pattern continued in the fourth round, although Provodnikov connected with more power shots than in previous rounds.
The fifth round brought what could be described as a “brutal” exchange. Alvarado continued to land effective shots, especially the uppercut. The sixth round could be described as an encore to the brutal exchange, with Provodnikov getting the better shots in as the fight returned to the phone booth it began in.
Provodnikov sustained a cut in the seventh round but it did not prevent him from staying inside, where he landed a few strong right hands as Alvarado landed some body shots. In the eighth round Alvarado re-established the distance briefly before Provodnikov attacked him against the ropes and knocked Alvarado down for the first time in his career. Alvarado made the ten count only to go back down shortly after. The brave hometown kid got up for the second time and took a few more strong shots, and landed a few as well before the end of the round.
Alvarado started the ninth round with a lot of movement, perhaps to try to recover from the recurring body shots that were landed by Provodnikov. Towards the end of the round Alvarado landed a few strong shots, looking as though he had regained some strength. Alvarado started the tenth round in a southpaw stance, something he had been testing the whole fight, while continually moving around the ring, as he was being hunted down by Provodnikov. Landing some strong right hands, Alvarado was certainly looking for a knockout punch. Provodnikov hurt Alvarado against the ropes with numerous body shots and while it looked as though Alvarado would go down again he fought Provodnikov off and survived the rest of the round.
Tony Weeks, the referee stopped the fight in the corner of Mike Alvarado in between the tenth and eleventh rounds after determining that Alvarado could not continue.
Provodnikov’s body shots laid the groundwork for his victory, as an emotional Alvarado sulked in his corner Provodnikov gave him a hug, and got announced as a champion. If that is not sportsmanship, I do not know what is.