By Ryan Burton
After eight months of inactivity, Ruslan Provodnikov will finally have the opportunity to defend the WBO junior welterweight title that he won in October against Mike Alvarado. He faces Chris Aligieri on June 14th in Brooklyn, NY in a HBO televised main event.
The fighter known as the "Siberian Rocky" was in the running to face Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez but after they chose different opponents, he had to settle for Aligieri. Provodnikov admits that he was disappointed he didn't get a bigger fight after his career defining victory over Mike Alvarado, but insists he won't overlook Aligieri and he feels his time away from the ring may have benefited him.
"We were a little disappointed but now the fight is set. We are happy with the opponent and we can't wait to get back in the ring. To be honest though, I remember when I was in his spot and wanted to get my title. If this kid is anything like me, this could be a more difficult fight than any fight I have had. I think that everything happens for a reason. I didn't waste the time out of the ring. I did some things for good causes and I believe the break from the ring helped me," said Provodnikov.
When Provodnikov's name was first mentioned as a possible opponent for Pacquiao he said he wasn't interested in fighting his friend. Both fighters train under the tutelage of Freddie Roach and Provodnikov said that he was more interested in facing Marquez than the Filipino.
Pacquiao later said that while Provodnikov wasn't his first choice, if Ruslan had the chance to fight him and make a career high payday, then he would encourage him to do it.
"When I said no I meant it. After Manny said that if I am offered this fight for that type of money then I should take it. I thought about it and he is right. If I can take a fight like that which can help my family then I should take it," Provodnikov told BoxingScene.com.
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