By Rick Reeno
For several months, WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16KOs) did everything in his power to secure a fight with Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez.
Marquez, who already held the WBO crown at 140, had no interest in fighting for the same belt. Marquez made it clear that he was gunning for a world championship at 147-pounds.
But, Provodnikov was stunned when Marquez finalized a fight with Mike Alvarado for May 17th. Provodnikov stopped Alvarado in ten rounds last October.
The winner of Marquez-Alvarado has been guaranteed a crack at tonight's rematch winner between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, who battle for the WBO welterweight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Provodnikov is firm in his belief that Marquez made a business decision to pursue what he believes is the easier fight.
"Yes I am disappointed [with Marquez's decision], but I understand that it's part of the business. I understand why Marquez made that decision. He's looking at a bigger fight next and right now he doesn't need to fight a crazy guy like I am," Provodnikov said.
"Overall, I think he's following the easier resistance road. I think Alvarado is an easier fight for him and I think he's hoping that he gets Bradley next because Bradley is another fight where he thinks he's not going to get knocked out and he'll make a lot of money. It's a good fight for him, because Manny Pacquiao is still a dangerous fight for him and he can get knocked out."
Provodnikov will instead face undefeated Chris Algieri (19-0, 8KOs) in an HBO televised fight on June 14th from the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.