By Bill "Two Scoops" Emes
This past Saturday night, Chris Algieri (20-0, 8KOs) secured the biggest win of his career. Algieri got up from two knockdowns in the first round, and overcame a closed right eye, to win a twelve round split decision over heavily favored Ruslan "Siberian Rocky" Provodnikov to capture the WBO junior welterweight championship in an HBO televised main event from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Two judges scored 114-112 for Algieri and the third had it 117-109 for Provodnikov.
Despite Provodnikov's fearsome power, Algieri says the only punch that affected him was the big left that caught him directly on the right eye and caused the first knockdown. Because of the immediate swelling of the eye, Algieri voluntarily took a knee to make a determination as to the severity of the eye injury.
"Actually the only punch that hurt me all night was the first punch. That first left hook that dropped me. That punch hurt. My eye started swelling immediately. The second [knockdown] I was just taking a knee because I wasn't sure of my eye yet," Algieri said.
"I felt a lot of swelling, a lot of tingling. My lip went numb, so [I took a knee because] I was trying to figure out what was going on with my face before I decided what the next step was. I didn't want to get hit again [on the eye] so I took a knee to gather myself. I had my legs back right away, but I wanted to make sure my eye was okay."