Ruslan “The Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) captured the WBO junior welterweight title Saturday night by brutally stopping defending champion Mike “Mile High” Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs) after 10 rounds at the 1STBANK Center, in Broomfield, Colorado.
The bout was telecast live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
The action was fast and furious from the opening bell. Provodnikov tested Alvarado immediately. Alvarado used his jab to keep Provodnikov at bay. The strategy worked. His advantage in speed was apparent. Provodnikov landed some winging shots. One hurt Alvarado.
In rounds two and three, Alvarado continued to box intelligently. Provodnikov pushed him to engage. Alvarado obliged snapping the Russians head back with stinging combinations. Provodnikov landed a thudding right hand to the body in round four. Alvarado hurt him with his own right. Provodnikov ate a left. His pressure was forcing Alvarado out of his gameplan.
Alvarado circled and fired his shots in round five. Provodnikov marched after him. Alvarado kept him thinking by fighting southpaw. Provodnikov landed some clean right hands. In rounds six and seven, Alvarado went back to boxing. A left uppercut landed. Both fighters traded wicked shots. Alvarado landed a double right. Provodnikov connected with a vicious left hook. Alvarado worked the body effectively. Provodnikov crowded Alvarado. A thudding right landed. A few seconds later a left hook shook Alvarado. Provodnikov looked much fresher at the bell ending the round.
The fight was very close going into round eight. Provodnikov’s right eye was bleeding. Alvarado’s left eye was swollen. Provodikov wasted no time going after Alvarado. A combination of body shots put the champion down. He was up at seven. A vicious body shot hurt Alvarado. Provodnikov landed some more thunderous shots. The hometown hero went down again. The crowd was almost silent. Alvarado got up and landed a huge right. At the bell, Alvarado had somehow recovered. In round nine, Provodnikov’s heavy shots continued to land. Alvarado countered with a right that shocked Provodnikov.
Alvarado was told by his corner before round 10 that he needed a knockout to win. Provodnikov would not let that happen. He stalked and pushed Alvarado into the ropes. A heavy combination to the body landed. Alvarado staggered away. A barrage of punches tattooed him. He appeared to have nothing left. His will was the only thing keeping him up. He stumbled to his corner and sat down heavily. Referee Tony Weeks made his way to Alvarado’s corner and asked if the brave warrior wanted to continue. Alvarado shook his head.
“I knew what I had to do to break him,” said Provodnikov after the fight. “I had to do it for my team. I don’t care about the titles.”
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