By Jake Donovan
Demanding the services of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach comes with its share of risks. For all of the ring knowledge you stand to gain during any given training camp, there stands the chance that his high demand status and high-profile clientele could mean not being there for all of his fighters on fight night.
Ruslan Provodnikov was aware of such risks from the first time he walked into the Wild Card Gym to train with Roach. The budding contender and all-action fighter was always well aware of that potential scenario playing out when he first agreed to face Mike Alvarado, which takes place this weekend in Broomfield, Colorado.
“We knew there would be a chance he wouldn’t be in our corner,” Provodnikov stated during a media conference call on Monday to discuss this weekend’s HBO-televised headliner, admitting the uncertainty still surrounding Roach’s ringside status. “We began training camps a little earlier. It’s been a great eight weeks of training with Freddie Roach and with Marvin Somodi, who is always in our camp. I’ve known what to do since day one.”
Roach was in the corner for Miguel Cotto during the Puerto Rican’s comeback fight earlier this month in Orlando. Immediately thereafter, the trainer left for the Philippines to prepare his most popular client, Manny Pacquiao for his Nov. 23 showdown with Brandon Rios in Macao.
Saturday’s affair will mark Provodnikov’s second straight fight on HBO, which he earned on the strength of his near-upset of welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley this past March. Provodnikov forced a brawl from the opening bell and had the defending champ on the canvas in the final round, but came up just short on the scorecards for what remains a leading candidate for Fight of the Year.
Roach was in Provodnikov’s corner for that affair. Whether or not he will make it to the FirstBank Center on fight night remains a game time decision. As should be the case with any good student, Provodnikov is prepared for the worst-case scenario, while hoping for the best.
I hope Freddie can be there, since he is the backbone of the team. But we are prepared for this fight, with or without Freddie (in the corner on fight night),” Provodnikov insists.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.