Can Chris Algieri upset “The Siberian Rocky,” Ruslan Provodnikov?
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Can Chris Algieri upset “The Siberian Rocky,” Ruslan Provodnikov?
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (June 12, 2014)

Chris Algieri
Chris Algieri
I know that I can beat Ruslan. Sure many people will be shocked when I win, but not me.” Chris Algieri

When Chris Algieri enters the ring this Saturday to face WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, he’ll do so as a heavy underdog. Basically nobody, with the exception of his family and friends, is giving the former kickboxing champion much of a shot at upsetting the burly brawler from Siberia.

Algieri, 30, begs to differ. After studying tapes of Provonikov’s losses to Timothy Bradley and Mauricio Herrera, Algieri, who picked up a bachelor’s degree in healthcare science and a master’s from the New York Institute of Technology, saw some flaws in the style of the defending champion.

"Just based on past fights, there is a weakness with dealing with a jab and a boxer and movement but really, those are the things that we've been trying to work most on," said Algieri during a recent press conference.

Algieri has won all 19 of his professional fights, scoring eight of the wins by knockout. He’s never faced anyone with the raw power and determination of Provonikov, but Algieri feels that his last fight and previous training camps have prepared him well.

“I’m not in awe of fighting Ruslan at all. I’ve watched him fight in the past and I have a very strong game plan to beat him,” said Algieri. “I’ve seen what works against him and just as importantly what doesn’t. Emmanuel Taylor, who I beat in February, was a hard-punching, strong fighter who had knocked out a high number of opponents. The underdog role fits me perfectly.

“I was in a couple of camps with Marcos Maidana and Brandon Rios, sparring for weeks. Both of them, like Ruslan,are aggressive, very strong fighters,who I had success against in training.”

Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) was disappointed when he learned he would be fighting Algieri. He had lobbied for months for a bout with Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez. When Marquez declined, Algieri, ranked in the top 10, was chosen. Still, Provodnikov, who was born in Beryozovo, a rugged village in Siberia (now Russia), shook off the disappointment and began to prepare for Algieri.

“Despite winning the title, I still feel like a challenger and I train like one,” said Provodnikov. “My job on June fourteenth is to chase Algieri and hunt him down. He should be more worried about me. His style of fighting is not my favorite. I prefer an opponent who likes to engage and fight toe-to-toe, not a runner. I don’t have trouble with runners. They have trouble with me. “

Facts speak otherwise. Provodnikov does have problems with runners, as he calls them. Herrera and Bradley used the ring and easily out boxed Provodnikov. Bradley got into trouble when he went mano a mano with Provodnikov. He was lucky to escape with his life.

Algieri is four inches taller than the 5’6” Provodnikov. He’ll also have a substantial advantage in reach. The Huntington, NY, native has a sharp jab and likes to fire hooks to the body. His footwork is top notch. A key will be to stay off the ropes.

Provodnikov, also 30, isn’t losing any sleep over details. He’s easy to hit and accepts it. His technique has improved under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, but there’s no mystery regarding his fightplan. His game is all about relentless pressure. He’ll attack every change he gets with thudding shots to the body and head.

For Algieri to pull off the upset, he’ll need to use angles and keep Provodnikov on the end of his jab. His movement should keep Provodnikov at bay for a while, but his lack of punching power is a major problem.

Provodnikov, who usually takes a few rounds to get going, will hound Algieri as the fight progresses. He’ll break the gutsy challenger down, and stop him before round ten.

John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at:

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