By Jake Donovan
Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov are already often mentioned anytime discussion turns to the list of best fights in 2013.
They now have the chance to outdo their separate entries in their own head-on collision.
Terms have been reached for the mouthwatering 140 lb. showdown, which will take place on October 19 at the 1st Bank Center in the Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado. The fight's close proximity to Alvarado’s hometown of Thornton (approximately 20 minutes) gives him a geographical advantage, but the fight is far from your typical showcase.
“The best part about bringing this fight to Denver is that we’re going into this fight market with a real fight,” says Top Rank VP Carl Moretti, who confirmed that the fight is a done deal as of Thursday afternoon. “We’re not going in with a showcase fight. We’re going in with a real battle, a Fight of the Year candidate.”
The bout will be the first piece of ring action since both did their part in separate Fight of the Year entries, which took place two weeks apart this past March.
Alvarado (34-1, 23KO) managed to avenge the lone loss of his career, outlasting Brandon Rios over 12 rounds to take a well-earned unanimous decision during Easter weekend in late March. The bout was every bit as entertaining as its predecessor, when Alvarado suffered a 7th round knockout loss last October in what was hailed by many as the best fight of 2012.
The sequel with Rios came two weeks after Provodnikov (22-2, 15KO) proved his worth on the championship stage. The Russian brawler pushed unbeaten welterweight titlist Tim Bradley to the brink before coming up just short, dropping a heartbreaking majority decision in their unforgettable 12-round war in mid-March.
The bout served as Provodnikov’s first on the title stage, as well as on HBO. Agreeing to terms with Alvarado will mark his second appearance on the network, with the Oct. 19 broadcast presumably coupled with the exclusive replay of the Oct. 12 PPV headliner between Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Negotiations went back and forth in making this fight, with most in the media craving for daily updates. Public misunderstandings over the reasons for Alvarado not immediately agreeing to terms created the false perception that the fight was in jeopardy, when in fact the opposite was true all along.
“It didn’t take anything specific to finally get it made,” insists Moretti. “The way we live with Twitter, with instant updates… it was a negotiation, but if you look at the timeline of events, there was nothing out of the ordinary. You explain things, the two sides go back and forth... it’s the way business should be done more often.”
With Marquez no longer campaigning in the 140 lb. division, the interim trinket Alvarado acquired in the win over Rios should receive an upgrade to full title status by the time the bout rolls around.
“They’re already major players at 140,” Moretti believes. “They just become that much bigger after a fight like this.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox