By Mike Coppinger
NEW YORK -- Ruslan Provodnikov had a banner 2013, but he's yet to kick off his 2014.
He'll get back in the ring Saturday when he makes the first defense of his 140-pound title against Chris Algieri at Barclays Center on HBO.
But will the layoff affect Provodnikov, especially against a fighter who will pose a very different style to the two men he fought last year?
"I actually think it was a positive because I had two very tough fights and taking some time off and relaxing at home and taking care of some of my business over there (in Russia), it was very important to me," Provodnikov said through his manager Vadim Kornilov at a media roundtable last Saturday. "I had to deal with family, because I had a very tough year, last year, 2013. So I needed this time and I needed this rest just to get back in the ring."