by David P. Greisman
Chris Algieri knows that what he’s seen with Ruslan Provodnikov may very well be what he’s going to get — the relentlessly aggressive pressure fighter who dragged Timothy Bradley into a war and who broke Mike Alvarado down.
And so Algieri, who challenges Provodnikov for his world title on June 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, knows what his approach well have to entail.
“The mantra of camp is ‘master boxer.’ We’re going to go out there and be a master boxer,” he said on a May 28 media conference call. “This is a boxing match. It’s not a boardwalk brawl. So basically I’ve got to go out there and use my skills. And as much as Ruslan is a come forward and pressure fighter, it takes a certain amount of skill. I know that him and his team are working on boxing skills and trying to work a game plan. It’s not just a fight. This is a boxing match. We’re both going to go out there with our strategies. A big part of mine is going to be to try to be a master boxer.”
He also knows that he’s going to have to prepare himself for moments when boxing won’t keep Provodnikov away.
“There’s no shot that I’m not going to have to fight,” Algieri said. “Ruslan’s going to put the pressure on. But at the same time, even though I’m deemed the boxer him the puncher, once we’re inside, I can still punch. I’m still going to be in there, still going to be able to throw and use my skills on the inside.”
Earlier in the conference call, Algieri was complimentary of Provodnikov while also getting slightly into what he felt are his opponent’s weaknesses.
“Ruslan is a great fighter and is a great champion. It’s a real honor to be in there with him,” he said. “I have seen him fight before. I’m actually a fan of watching Ruslan fight. He’s a pressure fighter. He comes forward. He’s super tough, very durable. He’s a good, strong puncher, and he maintains his pressure throughout the bout. He moves his head when he needs to and crosses the line and closes the distance very well. … But just based on past fights, there’s a weaknesses with dealing with a jab and a boxer and movement. Those are the things that we’ve been trying to work most on. But at the end of the day, it’s a fight. Ruslan’s going to press the action. I’m going to have to stand and fight at times. We’ll be ready for that as well.”
Algieri was then asked if there were any opponents he’d fought who might compare somewhat to Provodnikov.
“I think I’ve fought a couple guys who are pressure fighters and big punchers. My last opponent, Emmanuel Taylor, was a very well-known knockout puncher. He had one-punch power. He also threw a lot of very tight, short punches. I fought a fighter, a Puerto Rican fighter, Jose Peralta, who is a shorter, stockier pressure, aggressive guy as well.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org