By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, Oct. 19, inside of the 1STBANK Center in Denver, Colo., Russian brute Ruslan Provodnikov scored the biggest victory of his career in outlasting hometown favorite and former WBO junior welterweight titlist Mike Alvarado.
The action was nip and tuck early on, but Provodnikov weathered Alvarado’s thunder and came on in the second half of the fight before scoring two knockdowns in the eighth round.
Provodnikov dished out some more heavy leather in the 10th, as Alvarado elected to stay on his stool in between rounds rather than answer the bell for more punishment.
Calling the fight from ringside for the international feed, longtime HBO analyst Larry Merchant gave great praise to new champion.
“There are very, very few fighters who get to the top level who fight the way Provodnikov does,” Merchant revealed. “Who have the strength and the will. Because most of those kind of fighters run into a boxer who outslicks them or walk into a big punch. And this kid is relentless and indomitable.”
Looking towards Provodnikov’s future, Merchant affirmed his interest in a future fight with Manny Pacquiao.
“Well, sure, I’d love to see [that],” stated Merchant. “He’s sparred many rounds with Pacquiao.”
While not officially in his corner on fight night, trainer Freddie Roach serves the head trainer for the man nicknamed the “Siberian Rocky”. Roach is actually overseas in General Santos City, Philippines, helping Pacquiao prepare for his Nov. 23 showdown with former lightweight king Brandon Rios.
If Provodnikov were to ever land the Pacquiao fight, he would likely have to search for a new trainer or work with Roach’s assistant Marvin Somodio.
Either way, Merchant says that all parties seem to understand what is at stake.
“Roach has talked about that and they’ve talked about that,” said Merchant. “They’re professionals and they understand that. When you a get a chance to fight a guy like Pacquiao, that’s where the money is; that’s where the top of the mountain is. We better see what happens with Pacquiao and Rios and whether Pacquiao really wants to fight him. See what the other options are.”
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