By Rudy Mondragon
WBO Light Welterweight champion, Mike Alvarado (34-2-0, 23 KOs) faced Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) in a battle of wills. This fight was action packed and rather than summarizing the whole thing, I have summarized each round below. Prior to going into the fight, Mike Alvarado had difficulty making the 140lbs limit. He looked drained, but was able to make weight eventually. This might have had an impact on his performance. Nothing to take away from Ruslan, the man is a beast with iron fist and heart. Alvarado had lots of heart, but was broken down in the end.
Round 1 Ruslan
Mike Alvarado started off the fight throwing uppercuts in an attempt to survive a phone booth fight. Alvarado switched to south paw stance. Ruslan was doing work with hard overhand rights and cut the ring to press the fight and land shots to Alvarado’s body.
Round 2 Mike
Mike boxed better this round. He used the south paw stance and engaged his right jab more. He was using his height and his longer reach. Mike landed a hard right and it hurt Ruslan. Good round for Mike, but Ruslan was adjusting and studying.
Round 3 Mike
Compact round, both fighters fighting in a phone booth. Heads were so close to each other as both tried to connect body shots and uppercuts. Ruslan makes an important adjustment in this round that makes a difference later in the fight. He begins to slide to his right switching angles on Mike creating an opening for Ruslan to land his left hook.
Round 4 Ruslan
Mike begins round moving around in simple circles. Ruslan has been very selective with his power punches, setting up more body blows. Great adjustment by Ruslan, he seems to have found an answer for Mike’s south paw stance. He slides to his right a couple of times and lands massive lefts to Mike’s head.
Round 5 Mike
Tough round to call, both landed their shots, Mike continued to box while Ruslan continued to look for the fight to land powerful punches. Power punch advantage went to Ruslan while point collection went to Mike (busier and home crowed advantage).
Round 6 Ruslan
Ruslan continues to land his left shot and it is all due to his adjustment in the third round. Ruslan hurts Mike with a left, good round for Ruslan as he continues to be smart in his forward attack.
Round 7 Ruslan
Ruslan suffers a cut in this round. Great exchanges by both fighters, both land rights in response to each others attacks. Mike’s left eye begins to swell and Ruslan continues to land power rights and lefts to finish the round strong.
Round 8 Ruslan (10-7)
Mike Alvarado goes down in this round! Ruslan sets up a head attack with body work and Ruslan overwhelms Alvarado on the ropes, forcing him down. Mike goes down again, Ruslan sets up nasty head shots with more body work. Mike survives the round with hard shots of his own, but at this point, Ruslan is not feeling Mike’s power and he has found new energy! Ruslan now had a nice lead on the Blood Money Boxing card.
Round 9 Ruslan
Ruslan comes out stalking Alvarado. His hands are hands down as if to say that he has no respect for Mike’s punches at this point. Ruslan worked to kill and finish off his rival in this round. Ruslan took some punches in this round, but they didn’t phase him. Alvarado smartly used this round to recover, but appears to be really hurt and confused as he walks to the wrong corner at the end of this round.
Round 10 Ruslan
Ruslan runs out of his corner to start the round. Ruslan again used body shots and head blows to punish Mike to the ropes in similar fashion as Brandon Rios in his first fight with Alvarado. Ruslan hurts Alvardo with 10 seconds left in the round and once again, Alvarado walks to the wrong corner! Alvarado’s corner tells him they want to stop the fight. Legendary referee, Tony Weeks approaches the corner and asks Alvarado if he wants to continue and he said nothing! Ruslan broke Alvardo down to win an exciting fight.
This was a great fight, another classic fight to add to the list of great fights in 2013. Coming into this fight, Ruslan had already earned the boxing world’s respect as a result of his performance against Timothy Bradley. With this victory, Ruslan has now stamped his dangerous presence in the 140lbs division. He has earned a reputation as an exciting fighter who can brawl with brains and not punch himself out. With tonight’s victory, who is going to want to get in the ring with him? Danny Garcia? Lucas Matthysee? Khan? There are many names, but the only name that matters to me is Timothy Bradley.
Let me tell you why I think Timothy and Ruslan should have a rematch. Timothy fought a good fight, I don’t take any credit away from him in that fight. However, had Ruslan been awarded the 2 knockdowns early in the fight, it would have changed that fight completely. Bradley escaped the early rounds of that fight without losing any points and therefore was able to make adjustments without having to worry about being more aggressive or taking more risks to regain points. There are many unanswered questions about that fight and now that Ruslan and Bradley have come off of great wins, I think 2014 is their time to do it again.